• Jul 12, 2018 - A new paper by Dan Stevens, Scott Gaudi, and Keivan Stassun, entitled Measuring Model-independent Masses and Radii of Single-Lined Eclipsing Binaries: Analytic Precision Estimates, describes how the advent of SPHEREx and Gaia spectrophotometry, combined with existing broadband flux measurements, will measure nearly all the flux from intermediate- and low-mass stars. These data will permit direct bolometric flux measurements at high precision without needing to infer them from model stellar atmospheres. The bolometric fluxes can be combined with effective temperatures and parallaxes to calculate precise stellar radii (and, for stars with transiting/eclipsing companions, companion radii) empirically, or with parallaxes and radii from double-lined EBs to calculate empirical effective temperatures that can be used to resolve discrepancies between different effective temperature scales. This paper was recently accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.
  • Jun 6, 2018 - A new review paper by Salvato et al., entitled The many flavours of photometric redshifts, gives an overview of how photometric redshift techniques have evolved and improved over several decades. It also points out that SPHEREx, with its 96 bands between 0.7 and 5 microns, will have unique applications for measuring galaxy redshifts. The Salvato et al. review article appears in Nature Astronomy.
  • May 24, 2018 - The SPHEREx Concept Study Report has been submitted to NASA!
  • May 23, 2018 - Professor Scott Gaudi from The Ohio State University gave a colloquium entitled "KELT, TESS, and Gaia: The Era of Precision Stellar Astrophysics and Exoplanetology" at Caltech on Wednesday, 23 May. He pointed out that SPHEREx, in combination with Gaia, would produce more precise radii for the host stars of planets discovered by TESS [and other transit surveys], which in turn could determine the radii of exoplanets to better than 1%. In addition, the SPHEREx data could lead to model-independent maps of interstellar extinction in the solar vicinity.
  • May 21, 2018 - One of the prime scientific motivations for SPHEREx is to understand whether biogenic ices -- water in particular -- form within the disks surrounding nascent stars, or are brought in to those disks from their surrounding molecular clouds. A recent article in the New York Times illustrates an analogous investigation of how water may have been transported to Earth by asteroids. The research reveals another way in which water can move, in the planetary systems that are created from the protostellar disks that the SPHEREx team will investigate.
  • Apr 2, 2018 - The Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Systems (HOSTS) team has recently published a paper by S. Ertel et al., describing how they detected dust from the habitable zone around bright nearby stars. HOSTS used an interferometric nulling technique to suppress light from the central star, emphasizing the spatially extended emission from the warm dust in the habitable zone. The detection rate in their 30-star sample was 18%. Which implies that the all-sky SPHEREx survey will be observing enormous numbers of such systems. SPHEREx can potentially leverage its high spectral sensitivity and many spectral channels to detect them directly, by separating the warm dust emission from that of the central stars.
  • Mar 7, 2018 - The SPHEREx mission will enable many important scientific investigations in addition to its three core science themes. One such opportunity is described in a new white paper led by Daniel J. Stevens of The Ohio State University. The white paper, entitled "Exoplanet Science with SPHEREx's All-Sky Spectrophotometric Survey in the Near-Infrared," has been submitted to the Exoplanet Science Strategy Committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
  • Feb 8, 2018 - Last week, SPHEREx PI Jamie Bock gave the weekly colloquium at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. His talk, which was webcast live, is available for viewing online (one hour video).
  • Feb 1, 2018 - The SPHEREx team just concluded a productive commmunity workshop in Cambridge to elucidate the scientific overlap and synergies between SPHEREx and other missions, both ground- and space-based. A white paper is now being written to document the areas in which SPHEREx will enhance the scientific output of these other observatories, and vice-versa.
  • Oct 4, 2017 - The SPHEREx team announces a 2nd community workshop! SPHEREx Synergies will be held at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge on January 30 and 31, 2018.
  • Aug 16, 2017 - SPHEREx and the other MIDEX finalists are described in this Science article . SPHEREx itself is described in more detail on Astrowatch.net.
  • Aug 9, 2017 - Wonderful news! We learned today that NASA chose SPHEREx for a Phase A study! The SPHEREx team will receive $2M to carry out the nine-month study to refine the mission concept. NASA will make the final selection "by 2019." More details will be provided here as soon as they become available.
  • Mar 22, 2017- As planned, the SPHEREx team responded in writing to resolve NASA's questions about potential major weaknesses in our MIDEX proposal. This is standard procedure for MIDEX proposals at this stage.
  • Jan 4, 2017 - We are disappointed not to have been selected as a NASA SMEX this round. NASA chose the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), a mission led by Marshall Space Flight Center. We wish them the very best of luck.
  • Dec 15, 2016 - An enhanced version of SPHEREx was submitted as a NASA Medium-Class Explorer (MIDEX), with Step-1 selections expected in July 2017. If approved, the augmentations will make SPHEREx a significantly more powerful survey telescope for the astronomical community as a MIDEX.
  • Sep 16, 2016 - The SPHEREx cosmology white paper has now been cited over 50 times!
  • Jul 18, 2016 - The SPHEREx step-2 proposal Concept Study Report was submitted to NASA!
  • Jun 16, 2016 - The detector sampling algorithm to be implemented by SPHEREx has now been described in detail by Zemcov et al., 2016, now accepted by JAI!
  • Feb 24-26, 2016 - The SPHEREx team held a very successful community-oriented science workshop at CalTech. It was attended by more than 50 scientists from a wide range of disciplines, including galactic, extragalactic, and planetary science. A white paper describing the science topics was recently posted on arxiv. The attendees on day two:
  • Nov 6, 2015 - SPHEREx will be featured at the upcoming January AAS meeting in Kissimmee, in session 147 on Tuesday January 5. In addition to the SPHEREx observatory and the all-sky spectral survey, the presentations will describe the three main research themes being developed by the SPHEREx science team, and the many science opportunities that SPHEREx will create for the wider astronomical community.
  • Oct 23, 2015 - PI Jamie Bock summarized the status and goals of SPHEREx to NASA's Astrophysics Subcommittee. The full presentation can be downloaded here.
  • Jul 30, 2015 - SPHEREx Selected for Phase A Study! The SPHEREx mission concept was among three Small Explorer (SMEX) mission concepts selected for further development. The SPHEREx team will submit the detailed concept study report to NASA on July 19, 2016.
  • Dec 19, 2014 - SPHEREx Proposal submitted today.
  • Nov 7, 2014 - Results of CIBER mission published in Science