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Thomas Bensby. Profile photo.

Thomas Bensby

Senior lecturer

Thomas Bensby. Profile photo.

The wide-field, multiplexed, spectroscopic facility WEAVE: Survey design, overview, and simulated implementation : Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


  • Shoko Jin
  • Thomas Bensby
  • Sofia Feltzing
  • Diane Feuillet
  • Cristina Zurita

Summary, in English

WEAVE, the new wide-field, massively multiplexed spectroscopic survey facility for the William Herschel Telescope, saw first light in late 2022. WEAVE comprises a new 2-deg field-of-view prime-focus corrector system, a nearly 1000-multiplex fibre positioner, 20 individually deployable ‘mini’ integral field units (IFUs), and a single large IFU. These fibre systems feed a dual-beam spectrograph covering the wavelength range 366–959 nm at R ∼ 5000, or two shorter ranges at R ∼ 20 000. After summarizing the design and implementation of WEAVE and its data systems, we present the organization, science drivers, and design of a five- to seven-year programme of eight individual surveys to: (i) study our Galaxy’s origins by completing Gaia’s phase-space information, providing metallicities to its limiting magnitude for ∼3 million stars and detailed abundances for ∼1.5 million brighter field and open-cluster stars; (ii) survey ∼0.4 million Galactic-plane OBA stars, young stellar objects, and nearby gas to understand the evolution of young stars and their environments; (iii) perform an extensive spectral survey of white dwarfs; (iv) survey ∼400 neutral-hydrogen-selected galaxies with the IFUs; (v) study properties and kinematics of stellar populations and ionized gas in z < 0.5 cluster galaxies; (vi) survey stellar populations and kinematics in ∼25 000 field galaxies at 0.3 ≲ z ≲ 0.7; (vii) study the cosmic evolution of accretion and star formation using >1 million spectra of LOFAR-selected radio sources; and (viii) trace structures using intergalactic/circumgalactic gas at z > 2. Finally, we describe the WEAVE Operational Rehearsals using the WEAVE Simulator. © 2023 The Author(s).


  • Astrophysics
  • Department of Geology
  • eSSENCE: The e-Science Collaboration

Publishing year







Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society





Document type

Journal article


Oxford University Press


  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


  • cosmology: observations
  • galaxies: general
  • Galaxy: general
  • instrumentation: spectrographs
  • stars: general
  • surveys
  • Cosmology
  • Ionization of gases
  • Kinematics
  • Phase space methods
  • Radio astronomy
  • Spectrographs
  • Supernovae
  • White dwarfs
  • Cosmology observations
  • Galaxies general
  • Instrumentation:spectrographs
  • Integral Field Unit
  • Spectroscopic surveys
  • Stars: general
  • Stellar populations
  • Survey design
  • Wide-field
  • Galaxies




  • ISSN: 1365-2966