The Next Generation CFHT: A Wide-field Spectroscopic Facility for the Coming Decade
Patrick Cote



The 3.6m Canada-France-Hawaii telescope (CFHT) saw first light in 1979. Since that time, it has proved to be a highly productive and versatile research facility, making excellent use of one of the world's premier astronomical sites. Since 2003, CFHT has enjoyed success by focusing on wide-field optical and IR imaging. However, the coming decade will see an explosion of new wide-field imaging facilities, both on the ground and in space, as well as the launch of the GAIA astrometric telescope. At present, there is no large-aperture, wide-field telescopic suitable for a comprehensive spectroscopic followup of these missions and surveys, which will be essential for maximizing their scientific impact. In this talk, I report on a two-year concept study to upgrade CFHT to a 10m segmented mirror telescope equipped with a highly multiplexed, wide-field (1.5 sq. deg.) spectrograph. Dedicated to high- and low-resolution spectroscopy of faint stars and extragalactic sources, this "Next Generation" CFHT would build upon the many imaging and astrometric surveys planned for the coming decade and enable a comprehensive investigation into some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time.