We are building a next-generation laser adaptive optics system, Robo-AO-2, for the UH 2.2-m telescope that will deliver robotic, diffraction-limited observations at visible and near-infrared wavelengths in unprecedented numbers. The superior Maunakea observing site, expanded spectral range and rapid response to high-priority events represent a significant advance over the prototype. Robo-AO-2 will include a new reconfigurable natural guide star sensor for exquisite wavefront correction on bright targets and the demonstration of potentially transformative hybrid AO techniques that promise to extend the faintness limit on current and future exoplanet adaptive optics systems.
As diversity continues to grow in astronomy, creating working environments that are equally beneficial to all employees is imperative. Diversity in astronomical observatories is evident in a number of employee characteristics, including gender, race/ethnicity, age.
Since June 2017, ESO has created its Diversity and Inclusion Committee gathering a variety of employees from the different sites, with different backgrounds.
We will focus here on the status of the diversity and the strategies to develop a skilled and diverse operational workforce in the ESO observatories.
The Gemini Observatory has a strong commitment to meeting the user community's scientific needs. This means providing a strong suite of instruments with broad applicability: those that can handle the largest share of science return as well as more unique instruments, some of which might have narrow scope but potentially high impact. Recognizing that building a new Facility Instrument is expensive and typically takes more than 5 years, we have developed the Visiting Instrument Program, which allows investigators to bring their own innovative instruments to either Gemini telescope. To be accepted, all visiting instruments must demonstrate their competitiveness via the regular time allocation process. The majority of successful instruments are made available to our broader user community within one semester of being commissioned at the telescope. Visiting Instruments are operated by the instrument team while on Gemini, and are not fully integrated to Gemini control and data reduction software. The instrument team is responsible for providing reduced data and/or a data reduction pipeline to PIs when the instrument is made available to the community, as well as providing technical assessments of any community proposals. In any given semester, as many as three Visiting Instruments at each telescope might be listed in the Call for Proposals. The availability of the instrument at either Gemini telescope is determined by popularity with proposers, by pressure from other instruments and programs, and of course by the willingness of the instrument team to allow the use of the instrument at Gemini.
Gemini's Fast Turnaround program is intended to greatly decrease the time from having an idea to acquiring the supporting data. The scheme will offer monthly proposal submission opportunities, and proposals will be reviewed by the principal investigators or co-investigators of other proposals submitted during the same round. Here, we set out the design of the system and outline the plan for its implementation, leading to the launch of a pilot program at Gemini North in January 2015.
We present plans for instrumentation on the European Extremely Large Telescope. ESO is working with its community
of astronomers and instrument builders to develop the E-ELT Instrumentation Roadmap. The roadmap is a timeline of
the steps towards the full instrument programme, from specification of the scientific requirements, via a technology
development phase, to selection of the instrument concepts. Key goals are to be flexibile to new ideas and to ensure the
timely, on-budget delivery of instruments that meet the community's scientific needs. The result is an exciting
programme of seven instruments planned over the first decade of the telescope construction phase.
The modifications to the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) baseline design were accompanied by an evaluation of their impact on science. We will present the conclusions of this evaluation. The Design Reference Mission served as the benchmark for the evaluation. None of the modifications critically affect the Science Case. In particular, the full instrumentation suite can still be implemented allowing for the full foreseen suite of science cases. The largest impact is induced by the reduced diameter. For a large fraction of the science cases this can be offset by increasing the exposure times by ~20% to 34%. Where spatial resolution is the limiting factor, the limits have to be reduced by 9%. The exoplanet case deserves a special mention: two of the three components of this case (detection of Earth twins by the radial velocity method, and characterisation of the atmospheres of transiting planets) are unaffected; for the third component (direct imaging of Earth-like planets) the same results as for the original baseline can be achieved, but only at 20% smaller distances. Overall, all of the major science cases of the E-ELT can essentially be maintained.
During the last year a modified baseline design for the E-ELT has been developed. The aim of this revision was both to
achieve a significant cost saving and to reduce risk on major items. The primary mirror diameter was slightly reduced to
39 m and the total height of the telescope also decreased accordingly. This paper describes the work performed by ESO
and a variety of contractors to review the EELT design to match the modified baseline. Detailed design and construction
planning, as well as detailed cost estimates were updated for the 39-metre baseline design. In June 2011, ESO Council
formally endorsed this modified design as the E-ELT revised baseline.
The design drivers and balancing cost factors will be described along with the risk reduction measures taken during this
phase. This will culminate in the design which has been agreed as being ready to move forward to construction once
approval from ESO Council has been achieved.
In this paper we present a brief status report on the conceptual designs of the instruments and adaptive optics modules
that have been studied for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). In parallel with the design study for the
42-m telescope, ESO launched 8 studies devoted to the proposed instruments and 2 for post-focal adaptive optics
systems. The studies were carried out in consortia of ESO member state institutes or, in two cases, by ESO in
collaboration with external institutes. All studies have now been successfully completed. The result is a powerful set of
facility instruments which promise to deliver the scientific goals of the telescope.
The aims of the individual studies were broad: to explore the scientific capabilities required to meet the E-ELT science
goals, to examine the technical feasibility of the instrument, to understand the requirements placed on the telescope
design and to develop a delivery plan. From the perspective of the observatory, these are key inputs to the development
of the proposal for the first generation E-ELT instrument suite along with the highest priority science goals and
budgetary and technical constraints. We discuss the lessons learned and some of the key results of the process.
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is conducting a phase B study of a European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).
The baseline concept foresees a 42m primary, 5 mirror adaptive telescope with two of the mirrors giving the
possibility of very fast correction of the atmospheric turbulence. In parallel to the telescope study, ESO is coordinating
8 studies of instruments and 2 of post-focus Adaptive Optics systems, carried out in collaboration with Institutes in the
member states. Scope of the studies, to be completed by 1Q 2010, is to demonstrate that the high priority scientific goals of
the E-ELT project can be achieved with feasible and affordable instruments. The main observing modes being considered
are: NIR wide field imaging and spectroscopy to the diffraction limit or with partial correction of the atmospheric seeing;
high spectral resolution, high stability visible spectroscopy; high contrast, diffraction limited imaging and spectroscopy; DL
mid-infrared imaging and spectroscopy. The status of the 8 current studies is presented.
HAWK-I is the newly commissioned High Acuity Wide-field K-band Imager at the ESO Very Large Telescope. It is a
0.9-2.5 micron imager with a field of view of 7.5×7.5 arcmin sampled at 106 mas with four Hawaii2RG detectors. It has
a full reflective design that was optimised for image quality and throughput.We present an overview of its performance as
measured during the commissioning and first science runs. In particular, we describe a detector read-out mode that allows
us to increase the useful dynamic range of the detector, and a distortion calibration resulting in <5mas relative astrometry
across the field.
HAWK-I is a new wide-field infrared camera under development at ESO. With four Hawaii-2RG detectors, a 7.5 arcminute square field of view and 0.1 arcsecond pixels, it will be an optimum imager for the VLT, and a major enhancement to existing and future infrared capabilities at ESO. HAWK-I will eventually make use of ground-layer AO achieved through a deformable secondary mirror/laser guide star facility planned for the VLT.
KMOS is a near-infrared multi-object integral field spectrometer which has been selected as one of a suite of second-generation instruments to be constructed for the ESO VLT in Chile. The instrument will be built by a consortium of UK and German institutes working in partnership with ESO and is currently at the end of its preliminary design phase. We present the design status of KMOS and discuss the most novel technical aspects and the compliance with the technical specification.
The Adaptive Optics Facility is a project to convert one VLT-UT into a specialized Adaptive Telescope. The present
secondary mirror (M2) will be replaced by a new M2-Unit hosting a 1170 actuators deformable mirror. The 3 focal
stations will be equipped with instruments adapted to the new capability of this UT. Two instruments are in
development for the 2 Nasmyth foci: Hawk-I with its AO module GRAAL allowing a Ground Layer Adaptive Optics
correction and MUSE with GALACSI for GLAO correction and Laser Tomography Adaptive Optics correction. A
future instrument still needs to be defined for the Cassegrain focus. Several guide stars are required for the type of
adaptive corrections needed and a four Laser Guide Star facility (4LGSF) is being developed in the scope of the AO
Facility. Convex mirrors like the VLT M2 represent a major challenge for testing and a substantial effort is dedicated to
this. ASSIST, is a test bench that will allow testing of the Deformable Secondary Mirror and both instruments with
simulated turbulence. This article describes the Adaptive Optics facility systems composing associated with it.
SINFONI is an Adaptive Optics assisted near infrared Integral Field Spectrometer, currently in the process of installation and commissioning at the Cassegrain focus of VLT Unit Telescope 4 (YEPUN) in Paranal (Chile). The focal plane instrument (SPIFFI) provides simultaneous spectra of 2048 contiguous spatial pixels covering a two dimensional field of view with almost 100% spatial fill factor and with a spectral resolution of ~3500 in the J, H and K bands. It is fed by the Adaptive Optics Module, a 60 elements bimorph deformable mirror technology / curvature sensing system, derived from MACAO and upgraded to Laser Guide Star operations. This papers reports on the Adaptive Optics Module first light (May 31st 2004). Performances in Natural Guide Star mode were validated during the first commissioning and tests were carried out in preparation to the Laser Guide Star mode. Combined operations of the AO-Module with SPIFFI will start during the second commissioning in July. SINFONI is scheduled to be offered to the community in Natural Guide Star mode in April 2005. The commissioning of the instrument in Laser Guide Star mode will take place in the course of 2005 after successful completion of the Laser Guide Star Facility commissioning.
HAWK-I (High Acuity, Wide field K-band Imaging) is a 0.9 μm - 2.5 μm wide field near infrared imager designed to sample the best images delivered over a large field of 7.5 arcmin x 7.5 arcmin. HAWK-I is a cryogenic instrument to be installed on one of the Very Large Telescope Nasmyth foci. It employs a catadioptric design and the focal plane is equipped with a mosaic of four HAWAII 2 RG arrays. Two filter wheels allow to insert broad band and narrow band filters. The instrument is designed to remain compatible with an adaptive secondary system under study for the VLT.
VIMOS is the Visible Multi-Object Spectrograph mounted at the Nasmyth
focus of the 8.2m Melipal (UT3) telescope of the ESO Very Large Telescope. VIMOS operates with four channels in three observing modes: imaging, multi-object spectroscopy (MOS), and integral field spectroscopy. VIMOS data are pipeline-processed and quality-checked by the Data Flow Operation group in Garching. The quality check is performed in two steps. The first one is a visual check of each pipeline product that allows the identification of any potential major data problem, such as, for example, a failure in the MOS mask insertion or an over/under exposure. The second step is performed in terms of Quality Control (QC) parameters, which are derived from both raw and processed data to monitor the instrument performance. The evolution in time of the QC parameters is recorded in a publically available database (http://www.eso.org/qc/). The VIMOS QC parameters include, for each of the four VIMOS channels, the bias level, read-out-noise, dark current, gain factor, flat-field and arc-lamps efficiencies, resolution and rms of dispersion, sky flat-field structure, image quality and photometric zeropoints. We describe here some examples of quality checks of VIMOS data.
SINFONI is an adaptive optics assisted near-infrared integral field spectrometer for the ESO VLT. The Adaptive OPtics Module (built by the ESO Adaptive Optics Group) is a 60-elements curvature-sensor based system, designed for operations with natural or sodium laser guide stars. The near-infrared integral field spectrometer SPIFFI (built by the Infrared Group of MPE) provides simultaneous spectroscopy of 32 x 32 spatial pixels, and a spectral resolving power of up to 3300. The adaptive optics module is in the phase of integration; the spectrometer is presented tested in the laboratory. We provide an overview of the project, with particular emphasis on the problems encountered in designing and building an adaptive optics assisted spectrometer.
The Visible Multi-Object Spectrograph VIMOS is a wide field survey instrument in the process of being commissioned for operations at the ESO-VLT. During the first commissioning period, the instrument has confirmed its excellent performances in its three basic modes of operation: direct imaging, multi-slit spectroscopy, and integral field spectroscopy. VIMOS provides the largest imaging field at the VLT with 224 arcmin2. It offers an unprecedented multiplex gain in multi-slit spectroscopy, with on order 800 slits which can be observed simultaneously. The integral field unit has a field up to 54x54 arcsec2, with 6400 spectra recorded at once. The overall efficiency of VIMOS combined to the Melipal unit #3 is confirmed to be as computed on the basis of the measured transmission of optical elements. Image quality is confirmed to be excellent, providing images limited by natural seeing in most conditions. High quality slit masks cut by the laser machine coupled to excellent geometric mask to CCD mapping lead to multi-slit spectra of excellent quality. VIMOS is expected to be offered to the ESO community for reguglar observations in early 2003.
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Max Planck Institut fur extraterrestrische Physik (MPE) are jointly developing SINFONI, an Adaptive Optics (AO) assisted Near Infrared Integral Field Spectrometer, which will be installed in the first quarter of 2004 at the Cassegrain focus of YEPUN (VLT UT4). The Adaptive Optics Module, a clone of MACAO, designed and built by ESO, is based on a 60 elements curvature system. It feeds the 3D spectrograph, SPIFFI, designed and built by MPE, with higher than 50% K band Strehl for bright (V<12) on-axis Natural Guide Stars (NGS) and less than 35 mas/hour image motion. The AO-Module will be the first curvature AO system operated in Laser Guide Star (LGS) mode, using a STRAP system for the tip/tilt sensing. The Strehl performance in the LGS mode is expected to be better than 30% in K band.
Over the past two years ESO has reinforced its efforts in the field of Adaptive Optics. The AO team has currently the challenging objectives to provide 8 Adaptive Optics systems for the VLT in the coming years and has now a world-leading role in that field. This paper will review all AO projects and plans. We will present an overview of the Nasmyth Adaptive Optics System (NAOS) with its infrared imager CONICA installed successfully at the VLT last year. Sodium Laser Guide Star plans will be introduced. The status of the 4 curvature AO systems (MACAO) developed for the VLT interferometer will be discussed. The status of the SINFONI AO module developed to feed the infrared integral field spectrograph (SPIFFI) will be presented. A short description of the Multi-conjugate Adaptive optics Demonstrator MAD and its instrumentation will be introduced. Finally, we will present the plans for the VLT second-generation AO systems and the researches performed in the frame of OWL.