The E-ELT will create entirely new perspectives in optical/IR astronomy. Taking advantage of the supreme spatial resolution from a 42-m aperture, METIS will open up a huge discovery space at mid-infrared wavelengths - a thus far relatively unexplored region at the highest resolutions.
The mid-IR wavelength range is extremely rich in spectral diagnostics, complementary to those found at other wavelengths: emission and absorption lines of virtually all molecules, numerous atoms and ions, and unique solid state features. The METIS science team identified five main science drivers, used to define the instrument baseline requirements, and a host of additional strong science cases for METIS.
- Proto-planetary disks and the formation of planets
- Physical and chemical properties of exoplanets
- Formation and history of the solar system
- The growth of supermassive black holes
- Morphologies and dynamics of high-redshift galaxies.