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AKARI in Orbit—Scientific Potential for Understanding Galaxy Evolution

  • H. Matsuhara (a1), H. Murakami (a1), T. Nakagawa (a1), T. Wada (a1), S. Matsuura (a1), S. Oyabu (a1), T. Takagi (a1), C. P. Pearson (a1), H. Kaneda (a1), F. Usui (a1), M. Shirahata (a1), H. Shibai (a2), M. Kawada (a2), T. Onaka (a3), Y. Doi (a4) and AKARI team...

Abstract

The AKARI (formerly known as ASTRO-F) mission is the first Japanese satellite dedicated for large area surveys in the infrared (Murakami et al. 2004). AKARI was launched successfully on February 22nd 2006 (JST) from JAXA's Uchinoura Space Centre, Japan. AKARI is now orbiting around the Earth in a Sun-synchronous polar orbit at the altitude of 700 km. The 68.5 cm aperture telescope and scientific instruments are cooled to 6K by liquid Helium and mechanical coolers. The expected liquid Helium holding time is now found to be at least one year after the successful aperture lid-opening on 2006 April 13th (JST). AKARI will perform the most advanced all-sky survey in 6 mid- to far-infrared wavebands since the preceding IRAS mission over 2 decades ago. Deep imaging and spectroscopic surveys near the ecliptic poles with pointed observations are also on-going in 13 wavelength bands at 2-160 μm (see Table 1, details are given in Matsuhara et al. 2006). AKARI is a perfect complement to Spitzer in respect of its wide sky area and wavelength coverage. Two unique aspects of the pointing deep surveys with AKARI are: many imaging bands including the wavelength gap of Spitzer (8-24 μm), and the slitless spectroscopic capability (Ohyama et al. in this proceeding). Not only the All-Sky Survey but also the deep pointing surveys near the ecliptic poles over ~15 deg2 in total will be particularly well suited to construct the luminosity functions of the infrared galaxies, to evaluate their clustering nature, and also to discover rare, exotic objects at various redshifts out to z ~ 3. AKARI is also capable of detecting and measuring the spectrum and the fluctuations of the cosmic infrared background. The in-orbit sensitivity and spatial resolution of the surveys are found to be sufficient to achive the scientific goals listed above.

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Murakami, H. 2004, SPIE 5487, 330.
Matsuhara, H. 2006, PASJ, 58, 673.
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