The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) will be the world’s largest optical/IR facility for at least a generation. It will have an immense collecting area, equivalent to gathering together all the current large telescopes in use today. Multi-object spectroscopy will be a key capability of the observatory, immediately able to harness its unprecedented sensitivity to deliver unique surveys which address a broad range of important topics in contemporary astrophysics.
The conceptual design of MOSAIC, a powerful multi-object spectrograph for the E-ELT, will conclude in late 2017. The design combines high-multiplex near-IR and visible spectroscopy, together with AO-corrected spectroscopy in the near-IR that exploits the fantastic angular resolution of the E-ELT across a large field of view. These capabilities will enable MOSAIC to tackle fundamental questions that are simply out of reach of other facilities. In cosmology, MOSAIC will lift the veil on how matter is distributed in distant galaxy haloes, including dark matter and missing baryons. It will also result in a leap forward in our understanding of how present-day galaxies assemble. This includes detecting nearby primordial stars and the very first galaxies at the epoch of reionisation, the most exhaustive dynamical survey of distant galaxies ever undertaken and the detailed study of the stellar populations.
This colloquium is timed to discuss the scientific opportunities of surveys with MOSAIC, focussing in particular on simulated performances from the conceptual design. It will also take stock of other developments that will influence surveys envisaged for the late 2020s.