Observing with Roman

The Roman Space Telescope’s broad field of view, exquisite sensitivity, and fast survey speed will unveil the evolving universe in ways that have never been possible before.

Stars and dust in the Milky Way Galaxy

To fulfill the mission’s top-level science objectives, Roman will conduct three core community surveys plus a suite of general astrophysics surveys using the Wide Field Instrument (WFI), along with a set of technology demonstration observations undertaken with the Coronagraph Instrument. The core surveys include the High Latitude Wide Area Survey, Galactic Bulge Time-Domain Survey, and High Latitude Time-Domain Survey.  

Links below describe the core surveys, which are still being defined through an open, community-driven process. The General Astrophysics observing programs, as well as funding to work with Roman data, will be competed and selected through future processes. The surveys and programs all relate to at least two of the mission’s three main science themes: measuring dark energy, investigating exoplanets, and great observatory astrophysics and planetary science.

All Roman observations will be publicly available with no period of limited access.

Core Community Surveys

Galactic Bulge Time-Domain Survey

Tracking how stars change in brightness over time to discover distant worlds

Tracking how hundreds of millions of stars change in brightness will unveil thousands of newfound worlds with a wide range of characteristics (including rogue planets) and isolated stellar-mass black holes.

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This simulated image shows the region of the Milky Way that Roman’s survey will cover
This simulated image shows the region of the Milky Way that Roman’s survey will cover

High Latitude Time-Domain Survey

Revealing the dynamic universe beyond our galaxy

Astronomers will use this survey to probe our dynamic universe by observing the same region of the cosmos every five days for two years. Stitching these observations together will create movies that will uncover a wealth of transient objects, like exploding stars, stars being swept into black holes, and neutron star mergers.

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Type Ia supernova from accreting white dwarf.
Type Ia supernova from accreting white dwarf.

High Latitude Wide Area Survey

Making a 3D map of the universe

This survey will combine the powers of imaging and spectroscopy to uncover hundreds of millions of galaxies. Roman's wide and deep 3D images will allow astronomers to explore the structure and expansion of the universe as it evolved through cosmic time.

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Illustration of the Timeline of the Universe
Illustration of the Timeline of the Universe

Summary of Notional Observing Programs for Prime Mission

Notional Survey
Target region
Primary spectral elements
On-sky time in notional survey plan
High Latitude Wide Area Survey
(core community survey)
Extragalactic sky, ~ 2000 deg2
Y106, J129, H158, F184, and Grism
~ 24 months
High Latitude Time Domain Survey
(core community survey)
5-20 deg2 in the continuous field of regard,.
TBD filters + Prism
~ 6 months
Galactic Bulge Time Domain
(core community survey)
2 deg2 in a low-extinction area near Galactic center
W149 filter (occasional use of other filters)
~ 13 months
Full sky is available
All WFI elements
~ 15 months
Selected nearby stars
Coronagraph Instrument
~ 3 months