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.
Astronomical instruments often need simulators to preview their data products and test their data reduction pipelines. Instrument simulators have tended to be purpose-built with a single instrument in mind, and at- tempting to reuse one of these simulators for a different purpose is often a slow and difficult task. MAISIE is a simulator framework designed for reuse on different instruments. An object-oriented design encourages reuse of functionality and structure, while offering the flexibility to create new classes with new functionality. MAISIE is a set of Python classes, interfaces and tools to help build instrument simulators. MAISIE can just as easily build simulators for single and multi-channel instruments, imagers and spectrometers, ground and space based instruments. To remain easy to use and to facilitate the sharing of simulators across teams, MAISIE is written in Python, a freely available and open-source language. New functionality can be created for MAISIE by creating new classes that represent optical elements. This approach allows new and novel instruments to add functionality and take advantage of the existing MAISIE classes. MAISIE has recently been used successfully to develop the simulator for the JWST/MIRI- Medium Resolution Spectrometer.
The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) Medium Resolution Spectrometer (MRS) is the only mid-IR Integral Field Spectrometer on board James Webb Space Telescope. The complexity of the MRS requires a very specialized pipeline, with some specific steps not present in other pipelines of JWST instruments, such as fringe corrections and wavelength offsets, with different algorithms for point source or extended source data. The MRS pipeline has also two different variants: the baseline pipeline, optimized for most foreseen science cases, and the optimal pipeline, where extra steps will be needed for specific science cases. This paper provides a comprehensive description of the MRS Calibration Pipeline from uncalibrated slope images to final scientific products, with brief descriptions of its algorithms, input and output data, and the accessory data and calibration data products necessary to run the pipeline.
MOONS is a new Multi-Object Optical and Near-infrared Spectrograph selected by ESO as a third generation
instrument for the Very Large Telescope (VLT). The grasp of the large collecting area offered by the VLT (8.2m
diameter), combined with the large multiplex and wavelength coverage (optical to near-IR: 0.8μm - 1.8μm) of MOONS
will provide the European astronomical community with a powerful, unique instrument able to pioneer a wide range of
Galactic, Extragalactic and Cosmological studies and provide crucial follow-up for major facilities such as Gaia,
VISTA, Euclid and LSST. MOONS has the observational power needed to unveil galaxy formation and evolution over
the entire history of the Universe, from stars in our Milky Way, through the redshift desert, and up to the epoch of very
first galaxies and re-ionization of the Universe at redshift z>8-9, just few million years after the Big Bang. On a
timescale of 5 years of observations, MOONS will provide high quality spectra for >3M stars in our Galaxy and the
local group, and for 1-2M galaxies at z>1 (SDSS-like survey), promising to revolutionise our understanding of the
The baseline design consists of ~1000 fibers deployable over a field of view of ~500 square arcmin, the largest patrol
field offered by the Nasmyth focus at the VLT. The total wavelength coverage is 0.8μm-1.8μm and two resolution
modes: medium resolution and high resolution. In the medium resolution mode (R~4,000-6,000) the entire wavelength
range 0.8μm-1.8μm is observed simultaneously, while the high resolution mode covers simultaneously three selected
spectral regions: one around the CaII triplet (at R~8,000) to measure radial velocities, and two regions at R~20,000 one
in the J-band and one in the H-band, for detailed measurements of chemical abundances.
EAGLE is an instrument under consideration for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). EAGLE will be
installed at the Gravity Invariant Focal Station of the E-ELT. The baseline design consists of 20 IFUs deployable over a
patrol field of ~40 arcmin2. Each IFU has an individual field of view of ~ 1.65" x 1.65". While EAGLE can operate with
the Adaptive Optics correction delivered by the telescope, its full and unrivaled scientific power will be reached with the
added value of its embedded Multi-Object Adaptive Optics System (MOAO). EAGLE will be a unique and efficient
facility for spatially-resolved, spectroscopic surveys of high-redshift galaxies and resolved stellar populations. We detail
the three main science drivers that have been used to specify the top level science requirements. We then present the
baseline design of the instrument at the end of Phase A, and in particular its Adaptive Optics System. We show that the
instrument has a readiness level that allows us to proceed directly into phase B, and we indicate how the instrument
development is planned.
The most challenging of the metrology needs of multi-objects instruments is the registration of the pupil on the
deformable mirror which corrects the wavefront errors. Pick-off mirrors in multi-objects instruments and specially
spectrographs (MOS) require accurate positioning and simultaneous viewing of the pupil on the deformable mirror
(DM) and the focal plane image on the image slicer at the sub-micron level. A laboratory test prototype simulating the
telescope (E-ELT), the beam steering mirror (BSM) and the pupil imaging mirror (PIM), is presented to confirm the
correct positioning of the pupil on the DM and to provide the movements of the moveable optical elements to achieve it.
The opto-mechanical design and testing of this prototype is shown. The BSM stages (Goniometric cradle, Rotation, &
Linear) provide the key mechanical system elements, with precision alignment, resolution, and repeatability .
The design and behaviour of the control system is discussed; the ultimate aim of which is to adjust the BSM and PIM to
correct for any slight mis-positioning of the pick-off mirror and any temporal drift of all the components to achieve the
required alignment. The control system can also cope with flexure effects when required.
EAGLE is an instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). EAGLE will be installed at the Gravity
Invariant Focal Station of the E-ELT, covering a field of view of 50 square arcminutes. Its main scientific drivers are the
physics and evolution of high-redshift galaxies, the detection and characterization of first-light objects and the physics of
galaxy evolution from stellar archaeology. These key science programs, generic to all ELT projects and highly
complementary to JWST, require 3D spectroscopy on a limited (~20) number of targets, full near IR coverage up to 2.4
micron and an image quality significantly sharper than the atmospheric seeing. The EAGLE design achieves these
requirements with innovative, yet simple, solutions and technologies already available or under the final stages of
development. EAGLE relies on Multi-Object Adaptive Optics (MOAO) which is being demonstrated in the laboratory
and on sky. This paper provides a summary of the phase A study instrument design.
The Observation Software (OS) is the supervisory software which manages all the exposures and calibrations made by an
ESO/VLT instrument. It forms part of the multi-process and multi-layer ESO/VLT instrument software package,
receiving astronomer instructions either from a template script or directly from the instrument's graphical user interface.
In order to speed up development, ease maintenance and hence decrease the costs of the Observation Software of
different instruments (at various sites VLT, VLTI, La Silla, VISTA), a software framework "Base Observation Software
Stub" (BOSS) is supplied by ESO. This article introduces the objectives of the tool collecting the general features of all
instrument OS, such as configuration and synchronization of the subsystems, state alignment, exposure and image file
handling. The basic structure of the implementation is explained (using design patterns), showing the way the
framework copes with a challenge of being constantly adjusted to new generic requirements imposed by the complexity
of new instruments, performance requirements, increasing image file size and file numbers, and at the same time
remaining backward compatible. The instrument-specific features are illustrated via three of many applications:
FLAMES is an example of a complex instrument using a "super OS" controlling three instruments as subsystems;
AMBER is a VLTI instrument; and VISTA has high performance requirements on image file handling.
EAGLE is an instrument under conceptual study for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). EAGLE will be
installed at the Gravity Invariant Focal Station of the E-ELT, covering a field of view between 5 and 10 arcminutes. Its
main scientific drivers are the physics and evolution of high-redshift galaxies, the detection and characterization of first-light
objects and the physics of galaxy evolution from stellar archaeology. The top level requirements of the instrument
call for 20 spectroscopic channels in the near infrared, assisted by Adaptive Optics. Several concepts of the Target
Acquisition sub-system have been studied and are briefly presented. Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) over a
segmented 5' field has been evaluated and compared to Multi-Object Adaptive Optics (MOAO). The latter has higher
performance and is easier to implement, and is therefore chosen as the baseline for EAGLE. The paper provides a status
report of the conceptual study, and indicates how the future steps will address the instrument development plan due to be
completed within a year.
We describe the integration and test phase of the construction of the VISTA Infrared Camera, a 64 Megapixel, 1.65 degree field of view 0.9-2.4 micron camera which will soon be operating at the cassegrain focus of the 4m VISTA telescope. The camera incorporates sixteen IR detectors and six CCD detectors which are used to provide autoguiding and wavefront sensing information to the VISTA telescope control system.
The UKIRT Wide Field Camera (WFCAM) on Mauna Kea and the VISTA IR mosaic camera at ESO, Paranal, with respectively 4 Rockwell 2kx2k and 16 Raytheon 2kx2k IR arrays on 4m-class telescopes, represent an enormous leap in deep IR survey capability. With combined nightly data-rates of typically 1TB, automated pipeline processing and data management requirements are paramount. Pipeline processing of IR data is far more technically challenging than for optical data. IR detectors are inherently more unstable, while the sky emission is over 100 times brighter than most objects of interest, and varies in a complex spatial and temporal manner. In this presentation we describe the pipeline architecture being developed to deal with the IR imaging data from WFCAM and VISTA, and discuss the primary issues involved in an end-to-end system capable of: robustly removing instrument and night sky signatures; monitoring data quality and system integrity; providing astrometric and photometric calibration; and generating photon noise-limited images and astronomical catalogues. Accompanying papers by Emerson etal and Hambly etal provide an overview of the project and a detailed description of the science archive aspects.
The VISTA wide field survey telescope will be operated and maintained from 2006 by ESO at their Cerro Paranal Observatory. To minimise both development costs and operational costs, the telescope's software will reuse software from the VLT wherever feasible. Some software modules will be reused without modification, others will include modifications or enhancements and yet others will be complete rewrites or completely new. This paper examines the methods used in the software development process to integrate existing and new software in a transparent and maintainable manner. On the basis of the work so far performed, some lessons are presented for the reuse of VLT software for a new telescope by an organisation without previous knowledge of VLT software.
VISTA is a wide-field survey telescope with a 1.6° field of view, sampled with a camera containing a 4 x 4 array of 2K x 2K pixel infrared detectors. The detectors are spaced so an image of the sky can be constructed without gaps by combining 6 overlapping observations, each part of the sky being covered at least twice, except at the tile edges. Unlike a typical ESO-VLT instrument, the camera also has a set of on-board wavefront sensors. The camera has a filter wheel, a collection of pressure and temperature sensors, and a thermal control system for the detectors and the cryostat window, but the most challenging aspect of the camera design is the need to maintain a sustained data rate of 26.8 Mb/second from the infrared detectors. The camera software needs to meet the requirements for VISTA, to fit into the ESO-VLT software architecture, and to interface with an upgraded IRACE system being developed by ESO-VLT. This paper describes the design for the VISTA camera software and discusses the software development process. It describes the solutions we have adopted to achieve the desired data rate, maximise survey speed, meet ESO-VLT standards, interface to the IRACE software and interface the on-board wavefront sensors to the VISTA telescope software.
The first of two Gemini Multi Object Spectrographs (GMOS) has recently begun operation at the Gemini-North 8m telescope. In this presentation we give an overview of the instrument and describe the overall performance of GMOS-North both in the laboratory during integration, and at the telescope during commissioning. We describe the development process which led to meeting the demanding reliability and performance requirements on flexure, throughput and image quality. We then show examples of GMOS data and performance on the telescope in its imaging, long-slit and MOS modes. We also briefly highlight novel features in GMOS that are described in more detail in separate presentations, particularly the flexure compensation system and the on-instrument wavefront sensor. Finally we give an update of the current status of GMOS on Gemini-North and future plans.
Of the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph's (GMOS) scientific requirements, one which led to technically interesting areas was the ability to measure velocities to an accuracy of 2km/s over the entire 5.5 arcminute square field. GMOS's design to meet this requirement includes a mechanical design for stiffness and without hysteresis or image rotation, and an open loop flexure control system which translates the detector position to compensate for flexure. The model used to predict the flexure is an empirical one developed from measured flexure results. In this paper we present the analysis of factors which enable meeting the 2km/s requirement, and the observing strategies needed to make those observations. We look in particular detail at the development and test of that flexure compensation system, including both lab results and on-telescope results.
Ultracam is a high speed, three channel CCD camera designed to provide imaging photometry at high temporal resolution, allowing the study of rapidly changing astronomical phenomena such as eclipses, rapidly flickering light curves and occultation events. It is designed to provide frame rates up to 500 Hz with minimum inter-frame dead time and to time-tag each frame to within 1 millisecond of UT. The high data rates that this instrument produces, together with its use as a visitor instrument at a number of observatories, have lead to a highly modular design. Each major service (camera, control, sequencing, data handlers, etc.) is a separate process that communicates using XML documents via HTTP transport, allowing the services to be redeployed or reconfigured with minimal effort. The use of XML and HTTP also allows a web browser to act as a front end for any of the services, as well as providing easy access to services from other control systems. The overall design allows for simple re-engineering for a variety of imaging systems, and is already expected to provide control of IR arrays for the UKIRT Wide-Field Camera project. The instrument has been successfully commissioned on the William Herschel Telescope.
This presentation describes our experience developing astronomical instrument control software for the Gemini 8m telescopes using the Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System (EPICS). EPICS originated in the particle physics community and is now being used widely in the astronomy community. The differences between the requirements and techniques of these two communities has meant that the development of astronomical instrument control software with EPICS has been a challenge. We explore the different methods used for astronomical instrument control software and describe the method chosen for the Gemini Multi-Object spectrograph (GMOS) software. We have developed an `assembly control' record to contain the high- level intelligence for each assembly and a `device control' record to control each assembly's individual mechanisms. The solutions developed by GMOS can be reused by other astronomical instruments, provided they have similar kinds of mechanism. We describe improvements that can be made to the GMOS records to make them more adaptable and propose the creation of a pool of EPICS solutions for the benefit of future instrument software developers. We also describe the future development of astronomical device control software in EPICS and propose a new hierarchical model.
As the only two optical instruments appearing in its first fleet of instrumentation, the GEMINI MultiObject Spectrograph (GMOS) are indeed being developed as workhorse instruments. One GMOS will be located at each of the GEMINI telescopes to perform: (1) exquisite direct imaging, (2) 5.5 arcminute longslit spectroscopy, (3) up to 600 object multislit spectroscopy, and (4) about 2000 element integral field spectroscopy. The GMOSs are the only GEMINI instrumentation duplicated at both telescopes. The UK and Canadian GMOS team successfully completed their critical design review in February 1997. They are now well into the fabrication phase, and will soon approach integration of the first instrument. The first GMOS is scheduled to be delivered to Mauna Kea in the fall of '99 and the second to Cerro Pachon one year later. In this paper, we will look at how a few of the more interesting details of the final GMOS design help meet its demanding scientific requirements. These include its transmissive optical design and mask handling mechanisms. We will also discuss our plans for the mask handling process in GEMINI's queue scheduled environment, from the taking of direct images through to the use of masks on the telescope. Finally, we present the status of fabrication and integration work to date.
The two Gemini multiple object spectrographs (GMOS) are being designed and built for use with the Gemini telescopes on Mauna Kea and Cerro Pachon starting in 1999 and 2000 respectively. They have four operating modes: imaging, long slit spectroscopy, aperture plate multiple object spectroscopy and area (or integral field) spectroscopy. The spectrograph uses refracting optics for both the collimator and camera and uses grating dispersion. The image quality delivered to the spectrograph is anticipated to be excellent and the design is driven by the need to retain this acuity over a large wavelength range and the full 5.5 arcminute field of view. The spectrograph optics are required to perform from 0.36 to 1.8 microns although it is likely that the northern and southern versions of GMOS will use coatings optimized for the red and blue respectively. A stringent flexure specification is imposed by the scientific requirement to measure velocities to high precision (1 - 2 km/s). Here we present an overview of the design concentrating on the optical and mechanical aspects.
We describe ALICE (Array Limited Infrared Control Environment), the new array control and data acquisition system being developed at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, for use with instruments at the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The first ALICE systems are described to control Santa Barbara Research Center (SBRC) 256 X 256 indium antimonide arrays to be installed in a near-IR camera (IRCAM) and the IR spectrometer (CGS4) at UKIRT, ALICE, however, may be reconfigured for other sizes and formats of array, its use of parallel processing techniques helping to make it a powerful, flexible and extensible system.
This paper describes an implementation of a recently developed charge amplifier, called Integration Amplifier, in the UKIRT 7 channel spectrometer (CGS2), resulting in the conversion of the CGS2 from the traditional transimpedance amplifier to a commercial charge integration scheme. Also described is a new data acquisition system; the news system allowed the implementation of a noise reduction algorithm which is a mojor factor in the improved sensitivity of CGS2. The noise reduction algorithm is presented together with a system diagram of CGS2.