Faint objects in motion: the new frontier of high precision astrometry
Journal article, 2021

Sky survey telescopes and powerful targeted telescopes play complementary roles in astronomy. In order to investigate the nature and characteristics of the motions of very faint objects, a flexibly-pointed instrument capable of high astrometric accuracy is an ideal complement to current astrometric surveys and a unique tool for precision astrophysics. Such a space-based mission will push the frontier of precision astrometry from evidence of Earth-mass habitable worlds around the nearest stars, to distant Milky Way objects, and out to the Local Group of galaxies. As we enter the era of the James Webb Space Telescope and the new ground-based, adaptive-optics-enabled giant telescopes, by obtaining these high precision measurements on key objects that Gaia could not reach, a mission that focuses on high precision astrometry science can consolidate our theoretical understanding of the local Universe, enable extrapolation of physical processes to remote redshifts, and derive a much more consistent picture of cosmological evolution and the likely fate of our cosmos. Already several missions have been proposed to address the science case of faint objects in motion using high precision astrometry missions: NEAT proposed for the ESA M3 opportunity, micro-NEAT for the S1 opportunity, and Theia for the M4 and M5 opportunities. Additional new mission configurations adapted with technological innovations could be envisioned to pursue accurate measurements of these extremely small motions. The goal of this White Paper is to address the fundamental science questions that are at stake when we focus on the motions of faint sky objects and to briefly review instrumentation and mission profiles.

Space mission

Exoplanets

Local universe

Astrometry

Cosmology

Author

F. Malbet

Grenoble Alpes University

Céline Boehm

The University of Sydney

A. Krone-Martins

University of Lisbon

A. Amorim

University of Lisbon

G. Anglada Escude´

Queen Mary University of London

A. Brandeker

Stockholm University

Frédéric Courbin

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)

T.A. Enßlin

Max Planck Society

Antonio Falcão

Instituto de Desenvolvimento de Novas Tecnologias (UNINOVA)

Katherine Freese

Stockholm University

The University of Texas at Austin

Berry Holl

University of Geneva

L. Labadie

University of Cologne

A. Léger

University Paris-Saclay

Gary A. Mamon

Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC)

Barbara McArthur

The University of Texas at Austin

A. Mora

Aurora Technology B.V.

M. Shao

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

A. Sozzetti

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

Douglas Spolyar

Stockholm University

E. Villaver

Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB)

Ummi Abbas

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

Conrado Albertus

Universidad de Granada

J. Alves

University of Vienna

Rory Barnes

University of Washington

A. S. Bonomo

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

Hervé Bouy

University of Bordeaux

Warren R. Brown

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Vitor Cardoso

Instituto Superior Tecnico

Marco Castellani

Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma

L. Chemin

University of Antofogasta

Hamish Clark

The University of Sydney

A. Correia

Centre for Physics of the University of Coimbra

Mariateresa Crosta

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

Antoine Crouzier

Paris Observatory

Mario Damasso

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

Jeremy Darling

University of Colorado at Boulder

M. B. Davies

Lund University

Antonaldo Diaferio

National Institute for Nuclear Physics

University of Turin

Morgane Fortin

Polish Academy of Sciences

Malcolm Fridlund

Leiden University

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Astronomy and Plasmaphysics

Mario Gai

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

P. J. V. Garcia

University of Porto

Oleg Gnedin

University of Michigan

A. Goobar

Stockholm University

P. Gordo

University of Lisbon

R. Goullioud

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

David Hall

Open University

Nigel Hambly

University of Edinburgh

Diana Harrison

IoA

D. Hobbs

Lund University

Andrew Holland

Open University

Erik Høg

Niels Bohr Institute

Carme Jordi

University of Barcelona

Sergei Klioner

Technische Universität Dresden

Ariane Lançon

University of Strasbourg

J. Laskar

Paris Observatory

Mario Lattanzi

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

Christophe Le Poncin-Lafitte

Paris Observatory

Xavier Luri

University of Barcelona

Daniel Michalik

European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESA ESTEC)

André Moitinho de Almeida

Instituto Superior Tecnico

Ana Mourão

Instituto Superior Tecnico

Leonidas Moustakas

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Neil J. Murray

Open University

Matthew Muterspaugh

Columbia State Community College

Micaela Oertel

Paris Observatory

Luisa Ostorero

National Institute for Nuclear Physics

University of Turin

Jordi Portell

University of Barcelona

Jean Pierre Prost

Thales Group

A. Quirrenbach

Heidelberg University

J. Schneider

Paris Observatory

Pat Scott

Imperial College London

University of Queensland

Arnaud Siebert

University of Strasbourg

Antonio da Silva

University of Lisbon

Manuel Silva

University of Porto

P. Thebault

Paris Observatory

John Tomsick

University of California at Berkeley

Wesley Traub

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Miguel De Val-Borro

Planetary Science Institute

Monica Valluri

University of Michigan

N. A. Walton

University of Cambridge

Laura L. Watkins

Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

G. White

STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Open University

Lukasz Wyrzykowski

University of Warsaw

Rosemary Wyse

Johns Hopkins University

Yoshiyuki Yamada

Kyoto University

Experimental Astronomy

0922-6435 (ISSN) 1572-9508 (eISSN)

Vol. In Press

Subject Categories

Aerospace Engineering

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Human Aspects of ICT

DOI

10.1007/s10686-021-09781-1

More information

Latest update

9/16/2021