SPICA and SAFARI
SPICA (Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics) is a project of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to be launched in 2022. With a 3.2-meter diameter (EPD 3.0m), its large mirror will be actively cooled down to less than 6K. SPICA will achieve high sensitivity and spatial resolution. Four instruments are currently planned in the payload: i) the European SAFARI (SpicA FAR-infrared Instrument) will operate from 34 to 210 microns with a spectral resolution from 20 to 2,000; ii) the mid-infrared camera and spectrometer (5-38 microns with spectral resolution up to 30,000); iii) the near-infrared focal plane camera for guiding and science (0.7-25.2 microns), iv) the mid-infrared coronograph (3.5-27 microns); .
The figure shows the thermal infrared radiation of warm telescopes (>20 K, red lines) in comparison with typical astronomical diffuse emission (blue lines). The emission of such warm telescopes completely dominate in the mid-infrared regime, hindering high-sensitivity observations. In contrast, the infrared emission of SPICA's cryogenically-cooled telescope will be reduced significantly, virtually providing no contribution in the wavelength coverage of SPICA. Astronomical diffuse emission and confusion will be the only limiting background. The green box corresponds to the wavelength coverage of SAFARI.
University of Geneva involvement
The University of Geneva is a member of the European Consortium to build and operate the SAFARI instrument onboard the Japanese SPICA mission.
The University of Geneva leads the development and operation of the Instrument Control Center (ICC) for SAFARI, in close collaboration with
the PI institute (SRON, Groningen) and the international consortium members involved in SAFARI.