The Purpose of the Mission

from "ASTRO-F Mission Plan" (ISAS/JAXA, January 2006)

The main objective of the ASTRO-F infrared astronomical mission is to make an all-sky survey at infrared wavelengths[1] with a sensitivity one order of magnitude better and resolution a few times higher than IRAS (Infrared Astronomical Satellite) which is the first infrared astronomical satellite launched in 1983. ASTRO-F will make a second generation survey which meets current astronomer's expectations.

There are a large variety of scientific targets which will be investigated by ASTRO-F. Especially we focus on the following.

  1. To understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies.
  2. To inquire into the formation process of stars and planetary systems.

In order to accomplish these aims, ASTRO-F performs the following observations.

  1. An unbiased[2] all-sky survey at wavelengths from 50 to 180 microns.
  2. High sensitivity imaging and spectroscopic observations covering more than several tens of square degrees at wavelengths from 2 to 180 microns.
  1. Infrared ray is the generic name for electromagnetic waves which have wavelengths longer than visible light and shorter than radio waves.
  2. The observed area is not selected under any prior criteria beforehand in the case of ASTRO-F.