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G. Worthey (Washington State University), Space Interferometry Mission Team
Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) will contribute in fundamental ways to extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology in addition to its planetary and stellar contributions. First, the shape, mass, and extent of the distribution of dark matter to a distance of 250 kpc from the center of the Milky Way will be derived and extended to 4 Mpc with measurements of the true spatial orbits of local galaxies. Second, details of stellar evolution, masses, and IMF that cause enormous interpretive difficulties with high redshift galaxy evolution studies will come to light. Third, the extragalactic "distance ladder" will be reduced to two rungs: SIM and supernovae. SIM will provide <1% distances to all the traditional rungs such as RR Lyrae stars, Cepheid variable stars, main sequence stars, and will even sharpen methods such as surface brightness fluctuations. Finally, by tracking the photocenters of nearby AGN and quasars, SIM will detect binary black holes in AGN and find out whether the innermost optical emission comes from the jet or the accretion disk.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.