VEGAS: Science Themes
Based on the ASTRO-2010 Decadale Survey, four key research areas have been identified for the GBT. VEGAS would greatly enhance the science capabilities in all of these areas.
- The Context of Star Formation -- The mutli-beam processing capability of the spectrometer would allow mapping of the temperature and density in molecular clouds using existing and upcoming focal plane arrays, which then can be used to understand how stars are assembled from the interstellar medium and how their mass spectrum is determined in the formation process.
- Fundamental Physics -- The high dynamic range of the spectrometer would allow measurement of intensities of spectral lines in the presence of RFI which enables to probe variation of the fundamental constants of physical theories over cosmological timescales.
- Origin of Life -- The wide bandwidth of the spectrometer enhances the capabilities of molecular spectroscopy of complex organic molecules and pre-biotic molecules in the ISM and comets which are key for studying the conditions from which life eventually forms.
- Galaxies Across Cosmic Time -- The wide bandwidth of the spectrometer would permit the detection of redshifted spectrals from galaxies across cosmic timescale.