After completion of its final-design review last year, it is full steam ahead for the construction of the MOONS instrument - the next generation multi-object spectrograph for the VLT. This remarkable instrument will combine for the first time: the 8 m collecting power of the VLT, 1000 optical fibres with individual robotic positioners and both medium- and high-resolution spectral coverage acreoss the wavelength range 0.65μm - 1.8 μm. Such a facility will allow a veritable host of Galactic, Extragalactic and Cosmological questions to be addressed. In this paper we will report on the current status of the instrument, details of the early testing of key components and the major milestones towards its delivery to the telescope.
High resolution spectroscopy has been considered of a primary importance to exploit the main scientific cases foreseen for ESO ELT, the Extremely Large Telescope, the future largest optical-infrared telescope in the world. In this context ESO commissioned a Phase-A feasibility study for the construction of a high resolution spectrograph for the ELT, tentatively named HIRES. The study, which lasted 1.5 years, started on March 2016 and was completed with a review phase held at Garching ESO headquarters with the aim to assess the scientific and technical feasibility of the proposed instrument. One of the main tasks of the study is the architectural design of the software covering all the aspects relevant to control an astronomical instrument: from observation preparation through instrument hardware and detectors control till data reduction and analysis. In this paper we present the outcome of the Phase-A study for the proposed HIRES software design highlighting its peculiarities, critical areas and performance aspects for the whole data flow. The End-toEnd simulator, a tool already capable of simulating HIRES end products and currently being used to drive some design decision, is also shortly described.
We present the results from the phase A study of ELT-HIRES, an optical-infrared High Resolution Spectrograph for ELT, which has just been completed by a consortium of 30 institutes from 12 countries forming a team of about 200 scientists and engineers. The top science cases of ELT-HIRES will be the detection of life signatures from exoplanet atmospheres, tests on the stability of Nature’s fundamental couplings, the direct detection of the cosmic acceleration. However, the science requirements of these science cases enable many other groundbreaking science cases. The baseline design, which allows to fulfil the top science cases, consists in a modular fiber- fed cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph with two ultra-stable spectral arms providing a simultaneous spectral range of 0.4-1.8 μm at a spectral resolution of ~100,000. The fiber-feeding allows ELT-HIRES to have several, interchangeable observing modes including a SCAO module and a small diffraction-limited IFU.
Current and upcoming massive astronomical surveys are expected to discover a torrent of objects, which need groundbased follow-up observations to characterize their nature. For transient objects in particular, rapid early and efficient spectroscopic identification is needed. In particular, a small-field Integral Field Unit (IFU) would mitigate traditional slit losses and acquisition time. To this end, we present the design of a Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) multi-purpose spectrograph camera capable of running in several modes: traditional longslit, small-field patrol IFU, multi-object and full-field IFU mode via Hadamard spectra reconstruction. AIUC Optical multi-purpose CAMera (AIUCOCAM) is a low-resolution spectrograph camera of R~1,600 covering the spectral range of 0.45-0.85 μm. We employ a VPH grating as a disperser, which is removable to allow an imaging mode. This spectrograph is envisioned for use on a 1-2 m class telescope in Chile to take advantage of good site conditions. We present design decisions and challenges for a costeffective robotized spectrograph. The resulting instrument is remarkably versatile, capable of addressing a wide range of scientific topics.
The Multi-Object Optical and Near-Infrared Spectrograph (MOONS) will exploit the full 500 square arcmin field of view offered by the Nasmyth focus of the Very Large Telescope and will be equipped with two identical triple arm cryogenic spectrographs covering the wavelength range 0.64μm-1.8μm, with a multiplex capability of over 1000 fibres. This can be configured to produce spectra for chosen targets and have close proximity sky subtraction if required. The system will have both a medium resolution (R~4000-6000) mode and a high resolution (R~20000) mode. The fibre positioning units are used to position each fibre independently in order to pick off each sub field of 1.0” within a circular patrol area of ~85” on sky (50mm physical diameter). The nominal physical separation between FPUs is 25mm allowing a 100% overlap in coverage between adjacent units. The design of the fibre positioning units allows parallel and rapid reconfiguration between observations. The kinematic geometry is such that pupil alignment is maintained over the patrol area. This paper presents the design of the Fibre Positioning Units at the preliminary design review and the results of verification testing of the advanced prototypes.
The Multi-Object Optical and Near-infrared Spectrograph (MOONS) will cover the Very Large Telescope's (VLT) field of view with 1000 fibres. The fibres will be mounted on fibre positioning units (FPU) implemented as two-DOF robot arms to ensure a homogeneous coverage of the 500 square arcmin field of view. To accurately and fast determine the position of the 1000 fibres a metrology system has been designed. This paper presents the hardware and software design and performance of the metrology system. The metrology system is based on the analysis of images taken by a circular array of 12 cameras located close to the VLTs derotator ring around the Nasmyth focus. The system includes 24 individually adjustable lamps. The fibre positions are measured through dedicated metrology targets mounted on top of the FPUs and fiducial markers connected to the FPU support plate which are imaged at the same time. A flexible pipeline based on VLT standards is used to process the images. The position accuracy was determined to ~5 μm in the central region of the images. Including the outer regions the overall positioning accuracy is ~25 μm. The MOONS metrology system is fully set up with a working prototype. The results in parts of the images are already excellent. By using upcoming hardware and improving the calibration it is expected to fulfil the accuracy requirement over the complete field of view for all metrology cameras.
We use the ALMA Common Software (ACS) to establish a unified middleware for robotic observations with the 40cm Optical, 80cm Infrared and 1.5m Hexapod telescopes located at OCA (Observatorio Cerro Armazones) and the ESO 1-m located at La Silla. ACS permits to hide from the observer the technical specifications, like mount-type or camera-model. Furthermore ACS provides a uniform interface to the different telescopes, allowing us to run the same planning program for each telescope. Observations are carried out for long-term monitoring campaigns to study the variability of stars and AGN. We present here the specific implementation to the different telescopes.