X-shooter is a wide band (U to K) intermediate resolution (4000-14000) single object three-arms spectrograph for
the VLT. Currently in the last phase of integration, X-shooter will see the first light at ESO Paranal as the first of the
VLT second generation instruments in the last quarter of 2008. We describe in this paper the final steps in the
integration and testing phase of the central Backbone with its key functions (including the active flexure
compensation mirrors) and of the two UV-Blue and Visible spectroscopic arms. We report on the stability results of
the preslit optics and of the spectrographs and on the remarkable efficiency which is derived from the measurements
of the optical components of the instrument.
X-shooter is a second generation VLT instrument currently under construction by a Consortium of Institutes from Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands, France and ESO. X-shooter is designed to acquire intermediate (5000-10000) resolution spectra of single objects in an unprecedented wide wavelength coverage (320-2500 nm). In order to maximize efficiency the beam is divided into 3 arms (UV, VIS and NIR) by a system of dichroics. X-shooter is designed for the Cassegrain focus of one VLT unit. The mechanical assembly has to provide specific solutions to maintain 3 arms within the strict tolerances required by the intermediate resolution, during the typical motions of the Cassegrain focal station. It must as well ensure the permanent co-alignment of the 3 slits and the stability of the spectral format on the focal plane of each arm, allowing long intervals between calibration exposures. The above requirements have been met via an innovative mechanical design merging passive stiffness and active control to obtain a light, accessible and functional assembly. This paper gives a description of the X-shooter mechanical assembly with main emphasis on the common "backbone" structure and the UV- and VIS spectrograph arms.
The overall optical design of X-Shooter, the second generation, wide band, intermediate resolution, high efficiency, three-arms spectrograph for the VLT, is presented. We focus on the optical design of the three optimized arms, covering UVB (300-550 nm), VIS (550-1000 nm), and NIR (1000-2300 nm) wavelength ranges, including spectrographs and pre-slit optics. All spectrographs share the same original "4C" concept (Collimator Correction of Camera Chromatism). We describe also the auxiliary optics, such as dichroics, acquisition and guiding unit. Performances analysis are summarized.
X-shooter is a single target spectrograph for the Cassegrain focus of one of the VLT UTs. It covers in a single exposure the spectral range from the UV to the H band with a possible extension into part of the K band. It is designed to maximize the sensitivity in this spectral range through the splitting in three arms with optimized optics, coatings, dispersive elements and detectors. It operates at intermediate resolutions (R=4000-14000, depending on wavelength and slit width) sufficient to address quantitatively a vast number of astrophysical applications while working in a background-limited S/N regime in the regions of the spectrum free from strong atmospheric emission and absorption lines. The small number of moving functions (and therefore instrument modes) and fixed spectral format make it easy to operate and permit a fast response. A mini-IFU unit (1.8" x 4") can be inserted in the telescope focal plane and is reformatted in a slit of 0.6"x 12" .The instrument includes atmospheric dispersion correctors in the UV and visual arms. The project foresees the development of a fully automatic data reduction package. The name of the instrument has been inspired by its capability to observe in a single shot a source of unknown flux distribution and redshift. The instrument is being built by a Consortium of Institutes from Denmark, France, Italy and the Netherlands in collaboration with ESO. When it operation, its observing capability will be unique at very large telescopes.
We describe the Nordic Optical Telescope's facility short- wavelength IR instrument, NOTCam. The instrument will be capable of wide-field and high-resolution imaging, long-slit and multi-object grism spectroscopy, coronography, and imaging-and spectro-polarimetry. First light will be in mid- 2000. Current progress is summarized and some problems we have encountered and overcome are discussed.