Understanding the origin and evolution of molecules of potential biogenic interest [for example, (H2O, CO, CO2) that are incorporated from the interstellar medium into stars and planetary systems as they form is one of the three primary objectives of the SPHEREx mission. The data to be gathered to study this process will consist of SPHEREx 0.75 to 5 µm spectra of millions of stars throughout the Milky Way Galaxy and the Large Magellanic Clouds. These stars have been carefully chosen to sample a wide range of interstellar and circumstellar conditions. Because the interstellar medium is so cold, SPHEREx will detect these molecules in their solid phase, as ices. The SPHEREx List of ICE Sources (SPLICEs), just published by a team led by CfA astronomers Matthew Ashby and Joseph Hora, presents a catalog of 8.9 million objects of interest for the upcoming SPHEREx Ices investigation. A large subset of these as well as other targets to be identified before the SPHEREx launch will have their spectra produced by the SPHEREx Science Data System for use by the SPHEREx team and the astronomical community. The figure above shows the SPLICES objects’ distribution on the sky. SPLICES 7.3 is now being served by the IRSA archive at the IPAC data center at Caltech, using this link . For further information about SPLICES please look here. We welcome comments and suggestions regarding SPLICES and possible targets of interest which should be added to further improve the scientific return of the SPHEREx Ices Investigation. Interested parties should contact Matthew Ashby at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Key elements are coming together for NASA’s SPHEREx mission, a space telescope that will create a map of the universe like none before. NASA’s SPHEREx space telescope is beginning to look much like it will when it arrives in Earth orbit and starts mapping the entire sky.
Read MoreNASA's SPHEREx space telescope has been tucked inside a custom-built chamber on and off for the past two months undergoing tests to prepare it for its two-year mission in space. This news piece describes this testing milestone.
Read MoreIn this timelapse movie, scientists and engineers can be seen preparing NASA’s SPHEREx space telescope for tests inside a vacuum chamber at Caltech that simulates the environment of space.
Read MoreThe SPHEREx team completed the first successful testing of the SPHEREx flight instrument – detector assemblies, telescope, and thermal control system.