Prime: Probing the very early universe

Wei Zheng, Holland Ford, Jeffrey Kruk, Zlatan Tsvetanov, Alexander Szalay, George Hartig, Harvey Stockman, Marc Postman, Mark Voit, Peter Shu, Matthew Greenhouse, Hans Walter Rix, Rainer Lenzen, Stephen Kent, Chris Stoughton, Alain Omont, Yannick Mellier

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

2 Citations (Scopus)


PRIME (The Primordial Explorer) is a proposed Explorer-class mission. Aimed at the "first light" in the Universe, it will carry out a deep sky survey from space in four near-infrared bands between ∼1-3.5 μm. It surveys a quarter of the sky to AB magnitude of ∼24, which is ∼600 times deeper than 2MASS and ∼ five million times deeper than COBE at long wavelengths. Deeper surveys in selected sky regions are also planned. PRIME will reach an epoch during which the first quasars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies were formed in the early universe, map the large-scale structure of the dark matter, discover Type-Ia supernovae to be used in measuring the acceleration of the expanding universe, and detect thousands of brown dwarfs and even Jupiter-size planets in the vicinity of the solar system. Most of these objects are so rare that they may be identified only in large and deep surveys. PRIME will serve as the precursor for the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), supplying rare targets for its spectroscopy and deep imaging. It is more than capable of providing targets for the largest ground-based telescopes (10-30m). Combining PRIME with other surveys (SDSS, GALEX) will yield the largest astronomical database ever built.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1132-1136
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002
EventIR Space Telescopes and Instruments - waikoloa, HI, United States
Duration: 24 Aug 200228 Aug 2002



  • Galaxy
  • Quasar
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Zheng, W., Ford, H., Kruk, J., Tsvetanov, Z., Szalay, A., Hartig, G., Stockman, H., Postman, M., Voit, M., Shu, P., Greenhouse, M., Rix, H. W., Lenzen, R., Kent, S., Stoughton, C., Omont, A., & Mellier, Y. (2002). Prime: Probing the very early universe. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 4850(2), 1132-1136.