The Star Formation Camera (SFC) is a wide-field (~15f~19f, >280 arcmin2), highresolution (18~18 mas pixels) UV/optical dichroic camera designed for the Theia 4-m space-borne space telescope concept. SFC will deliver diffraction-limited images at ƒÉ > 300 nm in both a blue (190-517nm) and a red (517-1075nm) channel simultaneously. Our aim is to conduct a comprehensive and systematic study of the astrophysical processes and environments relevant for the births and life cycles of stars and their planetary systems, and to investigate and understand the range of environments, feedback mechanisms, and other factors that most affect the outcome of the star and planet formation process. Via a 4-Tier program, we will step out from the nearest star-forming regions within our Galaxy (Tier 1), via the Magellanic Clouds and Local Group galaxies (Tier 2), to other nearby galaxies out to the Virgo Cluster (Tier 3), and on to the early cosmic epochs of galaxy assembly (Tier 4). Each step will build on the detailed knowledge gained at the previous one. This program addresses the origins and evolution of stars, galaxies, and cosmic structure and has direct relevance for the formation and survival of planetary systems like our Solar System and planets like Earth. We present the design and performance specifications resulting from the implementation study of the camera, conducted under NASAfs Astrophysics Strategic Mission Concept Studies program, which is intended to assemble realistic options for mission development over the next decade. The result is an extraordinarily capable instrument that will provide deep, high-resolution imaging across a very wide field enabling a great variety of community science as well as completing the core survey science that drives the design of the camera. The technology associated with the camera is next generation but still relatively high TRL, allowing a low-risk solution with moderate technology development investment over the next 10 years. We estimate the cost of the instrument to be $390M FY08.
Scowen, P; Jansen, R; Beasley, M; and Calzetti, D, "The Star Formation Camera" (2010). Astronomy Department Faculty Publication Series. 952.