TSIP—Telescope System Instrumentation Program (NSF)
The highest-priority moderate initiative recommended in the AANM report, TSIP contributes greatly to the emerging paradigm of the integrated observing system, an approach to operating public and private facilities used for ground-based optical and infrared astronomy in which complementarity and cooperation provide motivation for strategic decisions. Through TSIP, NSF funds the development of instruments or other improvements for private observatories, in exchange for which telescope time at those facilities is made available to the research community.
WF3—Wide Field Camera (3), instrument designed for installation on HST
WFC3 was originally conceived only as a project to replace the capabilities of an instrument on HST, but it became clear during development that with advancing technologies and careful planning, WFC3 could substantially enhance HST’s abilities by adding a second channel, in the near-infrared range (in addition to the one in the near-ultraviolet). Adding a second channel of this type is almost like adding another instrument to Hubble. The UV and the IR regions are rich in information on the properties of solar system objects, stars, star-forming regions, galaxies, and the most distant and oldest objects in the universe.
WMAP—Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
WMAP, launched in mid-2001, is currently operating in high Earth orbit. A NASA Explorer mission, WMAP has measured with unprecedented accuracy the temperature of the cosmic background radiation, which permeates the entire universe, across the entire sky. This map of the remnant heat from the Big Bang will provide answers to fundamental questions about the origin and fate of our universe.
XMM-Newton—ESA’s X-ray space observatory
Launched by the European Space Agency in late 1999, XMM-Newton is the largest scientific satellite ever built in Europe. XMM-Newton explores X-rays from accretion onto black holes, properties of exploding stars, the nature of exotic matter, and gamma-ray bursts.