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Preprint G/11

World space observatory-ultraviolet among UV missions of the coming years

B. Shustov (1), M. Sachkov (1), A.I. Gómez de Castro (2), K. Werner (3), N. Kappelmann (3), A. Moisheev (4)

(1) Institute of Astronomy, Russian Academy of Sciences
(2) Fac. de CC. Matemáticas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
(3) IAAT
(4) Lavochkin Association

Astrophysics and Space Science 335 (2011), 273-282

Abstract. Continuous access to the UV domain has been considered of importance to astrophysicists and planetary scientists since the mid-sixties. However, the future of UV missions for the post-HST era is believed by a significant part of astronomical community to be less encouraging. We argue that key science problems of the coming years will require further development of UV observational technologies. Among these hot astrophysical issues are: the search for missing baryons, revealing the nature of astronomical engines, properties of atmospheres of exoplanets as well as of the planets of the Solar System etc. We give a brief review of UV-missions both in the past and in the future. We conclude that UV astronomy has a great future but the epoch of very large and efficient space UV facilities seems to be a prospect for the next decades. As to the current state of the UV instrumentation we think that this decade will be dominated by the HST and coming World Space Observatory-Ultraviolet (WSO-UV) with a 1.7 m UV-telescope onboard. The international WSO-UV mission is briefly described. It will allow high resolution/high sensitivity imaging and high/low resolution spectroscopy from the middle of the decade.

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