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Working Paper

Abstract or Description

Astronomy in 2024 should be very exciting! LSST and Euclid, which should each be in the midst of their deep surveys of the sky, will be joined by WFIRST. With higher resolution and sensitivities than previous astronomical survey instruments, they will reveal new insights into areas ranging from exoplanets to the nature of dark energy. At the same time, JWST will be staring deeper into the early universe than ever before. Advanced LIGO should be detecting frequent collisions between neutron stars. ALMA will be operating at all of its planned frequencies, and the new generation of very large optical ground based telescopes should be revolutionizing ground-based optical astronomy. In parallel, advances in computational capabilities should enable observers to better exploit these complex data sets and theorists to make detailed time-dependent three-dimensional models that can capture much of the physics needed to explain the new observations. The focus of this report is an exploration of some of the opportunities enabled by the combination of LSST, Euclid and WFIRST, the optical surveys that will be an essential part of the next decade’s astronomy. The sum of these surveys has the potential to be significantly greater than the contributions of the individual parts. As is detailed in this report, the combination of these surveys should give us multi-wavelength highresolution images of galaxies and broadband data covering much of the stellar energy spectrum. These stellar and galactic data have the potential of yielding new insights into topics ranging from the formation history of the Milky Way to the mass of the neutrino. However, enabling the astronomy community to fully exploit this multi-instrument data set is a challenging technical task: for much of the science, we will need to combine the photometry across multiple wavelengths with varying spectral and spatial resolution. Coordination will be needed between the LSST, Euclid, and WFIRST projects in order to understand the trades between overlapping areal coverage, filter design, depth and cadence of the observations, and performance of the image analysis algorithms. We will need to provide these data to the community in a highly usable format. If we do not prepare the missions for this task in advance, we will limit their scientific return and increase the cost of the eventual effort of fully exploiting these data sets. The goal of this report is to identify some of the science enabled by the combined surveys and the key technical challenges in achieving the synergies.

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