Science with METIS

METIS covers the thermal/mid-infrared wavelength range (3 – 19 μm) on the E-ELT. Focusing on highest angular resolution and high spectral resolution, METIS will provide outstanding observing capabilities, which are quite complementary to ALMA, JWST and other E-ELT instruments.

It is obvious that the E-ELT will open up new parameter spaces for optical/infrared astronomy and enable observations in the thermal/mid-IR range, which have never been possible before. METIS will focus in particular on research related to circumstellar disks and extrasolar planets, which are also the two science themes that mainly drive the science requirements. However, it is important to emphasize that METIS will be a general-purpose science instrument. As indicated above METIS’ unique contributions to astrophysics in the 2020s will likely be in science areas where high spatial or high spectral resolution or a combination of both is crucial. Hence, the METIS science case – as conceived more than 10 years before first light – covers a broad range of science topics:

  • Protoplanetary Disks and the Formation of Planets Extrasolar Planets
  • Exoplanet Detection and Characterization
  • The Formation History of the Solar System
  • The Properties of Low-Mass Brown Dwarfs
  • Massive Stars and Cluster Formation
  • Evolved Stars and Their Circumstellar Environment
  • The Galactic Center
  • Extragalactic Science
    • Starbursts in the Local Universe
    • Luminous star-forming galaxies at high redshift
    • AGNs
    • Transient Events