ann15070 — Announcement

Agreement Signed for E-ELT HARMONI Instrument

23 September 2015

ESO has signed an agreement with an international consortium of institutes [1] for the design and construction of the HARMONI instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

The agreement was signed by Grahame Blair, Executive Director of Programmes, Science and Technology Facilities Council, on behalf of the consortium, and Tim de Zeeuw, ESO Director General, at a ceremony at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, on 22 September 2015.

Patrick Roche, President of ESO Council and Niranjan Thatte, Principal Investigator for HARMONI, were also in attendance.

HARMONI, or the High Angular Resolution Monolithic Optical and Near-infrared Integral field spectrograph, will be one of the first-light instruments installed on the giant telescope and will function as the workhorse instrument for visible light and near-infrared spectroscopy in the wavelength range 0.5–2.4 µm. It can work with different adaptive optics systems, or even without adaptive optics at all, and will complement the MICADO camera, which is primarily focused on imaging.

HARMONI is an integral field spectrograph that allows more than 30 000 spectra of an astronomical object to be obtained at the same time at near-infrared or visible wavelengths. The design of the instrument is such that it will be easy to calibrate and operate, providing the E-ELT with a "point-and-shoot" spectroscopic instrument ideally suited to fully exploit the huge scientific potential of the telescope in its early years.

Thanks to the enormous light-collecting power and spatial resolution of the 39-metre E-ELT, HARMONI will be uniquely placed to explore galaxies in the early Universe, study the constituents of the local Universe and to characterise exoplanets in great detail. It will be a very versatile instrument, providing a range of image scales, resolving powers, fields of view and wavelength ranges — for instance, providing high spectral resolution for bright objects and high sensitivity for dim, distant objects.

HARMONI is the result of extensive earlier development work over many years, both at ESO and in the community. In particular, early E-ELT instrument studies were initiated by Sandro D'Odorico at ESO. HARMONI also continues the well-established tradition of adaptive optics-assisted near-infrared (SINFONI) and visible light (MUSE) integral field spectroscopy at the VLT.

Notes

[1] The HARMONI Consortium consists of: the University of Oxford (UK), the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK), the Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, France (France), the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (France), the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain (Spain) and the Centro de Astrobiologia (CSIC - INTA) (Spain).

Links

Contacts

Niranjan Thatte
Principal Investigator of HARMONI
University of Oxford, United Kingdom
E-mail: thatte@astro.ox.ac.uk

Joël Vernet
ESO Project Scientist
ESO
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6579
E-mail: jvernet@eso.org

Richard Hook
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
E-mail: rhook@eso.org

Lucy Stone
Deputy Media Manager
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, United Kingdom
Tel. +44 1235 445052
E-mail: lucy.stone@stfc.ac.uk

About the Announcement

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Images

Agreement signed to build HARMONI spectrograph for the E-ELT
Agreement signed to build HARMONI spectrograph for the E-ELT
Agreement signed to build HARMONI spectrograph for the E-ELT
Agreement signed to build HARMONI spectrograph for the E-ELT
Agreement signed to build HARMONI spectrograph for the E-ELT
Agreement signed to build HARMONI spectrograph for the E-ELT
Engineering view of the HARMONI spectrograph for the E-ELT
Engineering view of the HARMONI spectrograph for the E-ELT
Engineering view of the HARMONI spectrograph for the E-ELT
Engineering view of the HARMONI spectrograph for the E-ELT