The Multi Object Optical and Near-infrared Spectrograph (MOONS) instrument is the next generation multi-object spectrograph for the VLT. This powerful instrument will combine for the first time: the large collecting power of the VLT with a high multipexing capability offered by 1000 optical fibres moved with individual robotic positioners and a novel, very fast spectrograph able to provide both low- and high-resolution spectroscopy simultaneously across the wavelength range 0.64μm - 1.8μm. Such a facility will provide the astronomical community with a powerful, world-leading instrument able to serve a wide range of Galactic, Extragalactic and Cosmological studies. Th final assembly, integration and verification phase of the instrument is now about to start performance testing.
We are developing an optical adaptive optics (AO) system for small telescopes. An AO instrument in optical wavelength mounted on a 1-2 m class telescope located at a good seeing site will make it possible to achieve high angular resolution of 0.1-0.2 arcsec. Such capability will enable us to perform unique astronomical programs, as well as to provide good opportunity in education for both astronomy and engineering. In order to examine the AO capability on small telescopes, we developed an experimental AO instrument, in which inexpensive commercial devices are extensively used to reduce cost for development. We designed the weight and the physical size so small that it is portable and easy to be mounted on a small telescope, which is a unique feature of our AO instrument. After the engineering observations performed in Japan, we mounted it on the 1-m telescope of the European Southern Observatory of La Silla in Chile in March 2018 to examine the performance. We found that there were approximately 4 times and 5 times improvements in the full-width-halfmaximum (FWHM) and Strehl ratio of the PSF from the natural seeing, respectively. The best AO-corrected PSF obtained during the observation achieved FWHM=0.18 arcsec and the Strehl ratio = 0.18. Based on the detailed analysis of the timeseries wavefront and deformable-mirror-operation data, further improvement in AO performance is expected by adjustment of the system parameters. We succeeded in demonstrating the feasibility of an inexpensive optical AO system for small telescopes.
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.
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.
FIDEOS (FIbre Dual Echelle Optical Spectrograph) is a fibre-fed bench-mounted high-resolution echelle spec- trograph for the 1-m telescope at ESO in La Silla, Chile. It is based on a 44.41 lines/mm 70° blaze angle
echelle grating in quasi-Littrow mode, providing spectral resolution of R ~ 42 000, covering the spectral range from 400 nm to 680 nm. The detector is a 2k×2k CCD with 15 μm pixels. The spectrograph will be fed by two 50
µm core diameter fibres for the astronomical object and the simultaneous calibration lamp, respectively. Alter- natively, an iodine cell will be mounted on the telescope-spectrograph interface, providing a secondary spectral calibration source. In addition, the instrument will be mounted on a fixed optical-bench without movable parts rather than the CCD shutter and its enclosure will be thermally controlled to ensure opto-mechanical stability. Since the FIDEOS will deliver high resolution and spectral stability, it will be optimized for precision radial velocities.