Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope


Roman Space Telescope

Core Community Survey Definition

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The Roman Space Telescope’s observing program during the first five years will consist of:

  • Core Community Surveys (CCS) with the Wide Field Instrument (WFI). These are surveys that will be defined by the astronomical community and will include a High Latitude Wide Area survey, a High Latitude Time Domain survey, and a Galactic Bulge Time Domain survey.
  • General Astrophysics Surveys with the WFI that will be competitively selected.
  • A technology demonstration program with the Coronagraphic Instrument.

Roman’s Core Community Surveys (CCSs), which combined are anticipated to use the majority of Roman’s observing time during the first five years, will enable a broad range of astrophysical investigations while meeting the Roman Space Telescope’s scientific mission requirements in cosmology and exoplanet demographics. These requirements leave significant parameter space available to define the observational strategies (filters, depth, cadence, etc.) in a way that will enable a broad range of other astrophysical investigations. The goal of the community-led definition of the Roman CCSs is thus to determine an observational strategy for each that will maximize their expansive scientific impact by enabling a broad range of astrophysical investigations while providing the observations needed to meet Roman’s science requirements in cosmology and exoplanet demographics. All Roman data will be publicly available immediately.


Three avenues for community input into the survey definition have so far been made: short science pitches, technical white papers, and nominations for serving on the definition committees.

Science Pitches

Submission of a short, one to two paragraph 'science pitch' (including a questionnaire) was due February 17, 2023, and resulted in more than 100 submissions. The aim of the Roman CCS science pitches was to capture, from a large cross-section of the community, the full breadth of science investigations possible with the Roman CCSs, as well as high level information on what aspects of survey design are most important for these investigations.

View the science pitches

White Papers

Technically focused white papers describing what observing strategies were solicited by the mission, due on June 16, 2023. Over 70 submissions were received. The aim of the more detailed Roman CCS white papers was to compile quantitative discussions of CCS observation strategies, including what strategies will enable a given science investigation and the impact of survey design choices on the science, expressed via appropriate metrics or figures of merit.

View the white papers.

Core Community Survey Definition Committees

In August 2023 the Roman Mission solicited self-nominations to serve on definition committees for the three Core Community Surveys: the Galactic Bulge Time Domain Survey, the High Latitude Time Domain Survey, and the Wide Area Time Domain Survey. Over 80 submissions were received. From those submissions and other sources, the committees were constituted.

Galactic Bulge Time Domain Survey Definition Committee

  • Jessie Christiansen, NExScI/Caltech (Co-chair)
  • Daniel Huber, UH/USyd (Co-chair)
  • Annalisa Calamida, STScI
  • Jessica Lu, UC Berkeley
  • Eduardo Martin, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (ESA)
  • Benjamin Monte, UNSW
  • Kris Pardo, USC
  • Matthew Penny, LSU
  • Hans Walter Rix, MPIA
  • Jennifer Sobeck, IPAC

High Latitude Time Domain Survey

  • Brad Cenko, GSFC (Co-chair)
  • Masao Sako, UPenn (Co-chair)
  • Alessandra Corsi, Texas Tech
  • Michael Fasnaugh, Texas Tech
  • Sebastian Gomez, STScI
  • Rebekah Hounsell, UMBC
  • Takashi Moriya,NAOJ
  • Gordon Richards, Drexel
  • Russell Ryan, STScI
  • Schuyler Van Dyk, IPAC/Caltech
  • Ashley Villar, CfA/Harvard

High Latitude Wide Area Survey

  • Ryan Hickox, Dartmouth (Co-chair)
  • Risa Wechsler, Stanford/KIPAC (Co-chair)
  • Micaela Bagley, UT Austin
  • Keith Bechtol, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Michael Blanton, NYU
  • Chris Hirata, OSU
  • Elizabeth Krause, U of Arizona
  • Nikhil Padmanabhan, Yale
  • Ismael Tereno, Instituto de Astrofisica e Ciencas do Espaço (ESA)
  • L. Y. Aaron Yung, STScI
  • David Weinberg, OSU
  • Anja von der Linden, Stony Brook

Solar System Expert Liaison (serving all three committees)

  • Rosemary Pike, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
  • Susan Benecchi, Planetary Science Institute

The Core Community Survey Definition Committees will be charged with defining the CCS observational strategies in a way that maximizes the science that can be achieved with each survey and represents the interests of the full astronomical community.

The CCS definition committees will use the initial community input to

  • identify the most promising synergies between general astrophysics and the drivers of the science requirements for each CCS,
  • determine where additional investigative work is needed (e.g., to define appropriate metrics for a science investigation or determine if a science investigation is feasible within constraints),
  • discover areas where community consensus-building is needed (e.g., where there are significant discrepancies in strategy for similar science investigations), target additional requests for community input, and
  • inform the programs and agendas for later follow-up community workshops on the CCS survey definition.

The CCS definition committees, with the support of the Roman Science Centers at STScI and IPAC, will continue to engage with the astronomical community as they consider observational strategy trades and their impacts on science investigations while iteratively developing the survey concepts.

Next Steps

Each of the CCS definition committees will provide the Roman Mission with several survey options, and an analysis of the impact on various science investigations for each option. These will be provided to the Roman Observing Time Allocation Committee (ROTAC), also composed of community members representing the breadth of science investigations. They will be charged with making a final recommendation to the Roman Mission on the balance between each of the CCSs, as well as between the CCSs and the general astrophysics survey allocation. The CCS definition committees will then be tasked with providing the Roman Science Centers with survey definitions that are sufficiently detailed that the Science Centers can schedule the observations.

This process is planned to be completed 18 months before launch, to provide time for the Science Centers to implement the surveys and the astronomical community to prepare for the first call for principal investigator-led programs.

Visit the Roman Space Telescope Partner Websites

Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

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Media Inquiries: Claire Andreoli
Website Curator: Jennifer Brill

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