The 4MOST consortium has been selected by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) to provide the ESO community with a fibre-fed spectroscopic survey facility on the VISTA telescope with a large enough field-of-view to survey a large fraction of the southern sky in a few years. The facility will be able to simultaneously obtain spectra of ~2400 objects distributed over an hexagonal field-of-view of 4 square degrees. This high multiplex of 4MOST, combined with its high spectral resolution, will enable detection of chemical and kinematic substructure in the stellar halo, bulge and thin and thick discs of the Milky Way, thus help unravel the origin of our home galaxy. The instrument will also have enough wavelength coverage to secure velocities of extra-galactic objects over a large range in redshift, thus enabling measurements of the evolution of galaxies and the structure of the cosmos.
This exceptional instrument enables many science goals, but the design is especially intended to complement three key all-sky, space-based observatories of prime European interest: Gaia, EUCLID, and eROSITA. Such a facility has been identified as of critical importance in a number of recent European strategic documents (Bode et al., 2008; de Zeeuw & Molster, 2007; Drew et al., 2010; Turon et al., 2008) and forms the perfect complement to the many all-sky survey projects around the world.
4MOST is currently in its Preliminary Design Phase with an expected start of science operations in 2021.
4MOST enables many science goals, but our design is especially intended to complement a number of key large-area, space-based observatories of prime European interest: Gaia, eROSITA, EUCLID, and PLATO, and future ground-based, wide-area survey facilities like LSST and SKA.
To reach maximum impact, 4MOST will operate continuously for an initial five-year Public Survey delivering spectra for ≥25 million object over ≥15 000 square degrees.
The 4MOST facility will be running spectroscopic Public Surveys on VISTA all the time, and consists next to the instrument also of all the software to schedule and observe many surveys in parallel and the data management system to reduce, analyze, validate and publish all the data including higher-level data products (radial velocities/redshifts, stellar parameters, abundances, etc.).
The 4MOST consortium consists of 15 institutes in Germany, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK, under leadership of the Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik, Potsdam (AIP).