The Mid-infrared ELT Imager and Spectrograph

The Mid-infrared ELT Imager and Spectrograph (METIS), will be the third instrument on the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). It will make full use of the giant, 39-metre main mirror of the telescope and focus on five scientific goals: exoplanets, proto-planetary disks, Solar System bodies, active galactic nuclei, and high-redshift infrared galaxies.

METIS’s powerful spectrograph will allow astronomers to investigate the basic physical and chemical properties of exoplanets, like their orbital parameters and structures, temperature, composition of their atmospheres, weather, seasons, etc. Only the innovation of the astronomers at the instrument’s helm place limits on its use.

In addition, METIS will contribute to numerous other areas, including the study of the Martian atmosphere, properties of low-mass brown dwarfs, the centre of the Milky Way, the environment of evolved stars, and gamma-ray bursts as cosmological probes. METIS will also have wide applications working at longer wavelengths and many ways of collaborating with other facilities, such as the future James Webb Space Telescope.

Artist's impression of the location of the instruments. METIS is shown on the left on the Nasmyth platform of the ELT. On the right MAORY is shown above MICADO.  Credit: NOVA/METIS/MAORY/MICADO/HARMONI


This table lists the global capabilities of the instrument. The authoritative technical specifications as offered for astronomical observations are available from the Science Operation page.

Site: Cerro Armazones
Telescope: Extremely Large Telescope
Focus: Nasmyth
Type: Imager, spectrograph
Wavelength coverage: 3–20 μm
Spatial resolution: Nyquist sampling at diffraction limit 3 and 8 μm
Spectral resolution: Low-resolution (R < 1,000) at L,M,N
Medium-resolution (R <10,000) at N
High-resolution (R~100,000) IFU at L,M
First light date: 2025+
Images taken with the instrument: Link
Images of the instrument: Link
Press Releases with the instrument: Link
Science goals: Proto-planetary disks and the formation of planets
Physical and chemical properties of exoplanets
Formation and history of the Solar System
The growth of supermassive black holes
Morphologies and dynamics of high-redshift galaxies.


The Netherlands:
NOVA (representing Leiden Observatory and ASTRON)

The Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA)

United Kingdom:
UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UKATC)

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

CEA Saclay

ETH Zürich

Universität Wien