METIS Instrument Passes Design Milestone
5 June 2020
METIS, the powerful imager and spectrograph for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), has passed its Preliminary Design Review at ESO’s headquarters in Garching, Germany. METIS, short for Mid-infrared ELT Imager and Spectrograph, will make full use of the giant main mirror of the telescope to study a wide range of science topics, from objects in our Solar System to distant active galaxies. METIS will be extremely well suited to study the life cycle of stars, from infant stars and planet-forming discs to older stars near the end of their lifetime.
The ELT will be the largest optical to mid-infrared telescope on Earth when it starts operations towards the middle of this decade. With its 39-metre primary mirror and advanced adaptive-optics systems, it will have six times the resolution of the James Webb Space Telescope. METIS will take full advantage of this remarkable telescope and its adaptive optics to probe the structure and composition of objects with revolutionary precision.
Among others, METIS is expected to make large contributions to one of the most dynamic and exciting fields of astronomy for both scientists and the public, exoplanets. The instrument will be able to study the temperature, weather, and seasonal changes of the atmospheres of many giant exoplanets. Furthermore, METIS has the potential to directly detect terrestrial exoplanets around the nearest stars and, in favourable cases, investigate their atmospheric composition.
Now that the instrument has passed this Preliminary Design Review, the METIS consortium will continue to develop its design in further detail before construction on the instrument starts.
The METIS consortium consists of NOVA (Netherlands Research School for Astronomy represented by the University of Leiden, The Netherlands), the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA, based in Heidelberg, Germany), the University of Cologne (Germany), the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UKATC, in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK), the KULeuven (Belgium), the Paris Saclay research center of the CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, France), Center for Astrophysics and Gravitation (CENTRA, University of Lisbon, Portugal), ETH Zürich (Switzerland), A* (an Austrian partnership represented by the University of Vienna, the University of Innsbruck, the University of Graz, the University of Linz, and RICAM Linz, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria), the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (United States), Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taipei (Taiwan), and the Université de Liège (Belgium), with contributions from ESO.
METIS Project Manager at ESO
Cell: +49 151 14176113
METIS Project Scientist at ESO
Cell: +49 1575 088 6576
Bernhard R. Brandl
METIS Principal Investigator
Sterrewacht Leiden, Leiden University
Cell: +31 6211 85430
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6670
Cell: +49 151 241 664 00
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