Pathfinder is an Integral Field Unit (IFU) and/or Multi-Object Spectrograph (MOS) instrument that will augment CFHT's scientific capabilities and futher development of the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE). Hosted at CFHT, Pathfinder will be a proto-MSE scientific instrument that provides a development platform for innovative technologies that could serve as MSE first-light instruments. With a baseline configuration of ~1,000 multiplexed fibers and two spectrographs, Pathfinder will have two modes: MOS using a fiber positioner at prime focus and a Cassegrain-mounted IFU. The instrument will have a spectroscopic coverage of 0.36 nm to 1 nm at R=2000 to R=5000 moderate resolution (MR). Science capabilities could also include an extended spectral range from visible (VIS) into near-infrared (NIR) J- and H-band and R=15,000 high resolution (HR mode) in the visible. The Pathfinder constortium will define the instrument's design specifications and parameters. The figure provides a baseline design as a starting point for discussions regarding project partnership and contribution requirements.

Science Motivation

Pathfinder’s MOS and IFU instrument capabilities will enable a wide range of science cases from cosmology to stellar astrophysics, including

  • Time Domain and Transients
  • Galactic Science
  • Cosmology
  • High-Energy
  • Galaxy Evolution

Pathfinder’s spectroscopic data will enhance the science return from a variety of space- and ground-based facilities. Its observations will complement space missions such as Gaia, eROSITA, Euclid, Plato, TESS, Roman, and JWST. Pathfinder spectroscopic follow-up will augment the data and science return from several current and future ground-based facilities including ZTF, Pan-STARRS, Rubin, PTF, KIDS, DESI, and SKA, as well as existing CFHT data sets such as NGVS, UNIONS, and Pristine. Pathfinder will generate 2D (MOS) and 3D (IFU) fully reduced and calibrated spectra and measurements of stellar atmospheric parameters, line ratios, element abundance ratios, radial velocities, and redshifts.