The MUSE instrument is complete!

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MUSE is a second-generation instrument designed to equip the ESO (European Southern Observatory) Very Large Telescope (VLT). Based on the innovative concept of integral field spectrograph, it will lead to observe galaxies located more than ten billion light years away, i.e., galaxies in the early Universe (as it was a few hundred million years old only) and to decide among various formation and evolution scenarios of the galaxies.

Back view of the MUSE instrument in the integration hall of the CRAL. Every 24 spectrographs are now installed in the mechanical structure. The tangle of pipes connected to the spectrographs enables the cooling, through liquid nitrogen, of the 24 associated spectrographs. The input optical module conceived and realized at the IRAP is visible above the mechanical structure.

On June 7, the MUSE instrument has reached a very important step with the introduction of the 24th and last spectrograph. MUSE is now fully operational and engaged in a series of tests designed to validate all of its capabilities. The next step, scheduled on September, will consist in an acceptance review of the instrument by the ESO that will lead to the carrying of the instrument at Paranal (Chile). There, it will be reassembled at the focus of one of the VLT large telescopes for a first look at the universe expected in February 2014.

MUSE is a collaboration between seven European laboratories among which IRAP which holds (or has held) an important role in :

  • the realization of the instrument (input optomechanical module, electronic and computer control),
  • the implementation of a MUSE Data Centre at Toulouse, and the development of new analytical tools,
  • the responsibility for ambitious scientific programs to understand the formation and the evolution of galaxies.

All of the European scientists of the MUSE consortium (photo below) continues in parallel to prepare the scientific programs which will be conducted during the 250 nights of guaranteed time that have been allocated to them. Major advances in our understanding of the early universe are expected thanks to MUSE, a major revolutionary instrument.

European scientists met at a MUSE “busy week” at Aussois last week

The IRAP/OMP Muse technical team : S. Baratchart, S. Brau-Nogué, P. Couderc, M. Dupieux, J-P. Dupin, G. Gallou, T. Gharsa, N. Girard, W. Ksentini, M. Lafon, M. Larrieu, T. Louge, P. Maeght, C. Othmani, L. Parès, C. Parisel, P. Pastor, Y. Robert, H. Valentin

The IRAP MUSE scientific team: N. Bouché, H. Carfantan, T. Contini, Y. Deville, C. Divoy, M. Hayes, S. Hosseini, I. Meganem, R. Pello, I. Schroetter, A. Selloum, G. Soucail, E. Villeneuve

Acronyms:

  • MUSE: Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer
  • CRAL: Centre de Recherche Astronomique de Lyon
  • ESO: European Southern Observatory
  • IRAP: Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie

Website : http://muse.univ-lyon1.fr/

IRAP Contacts:

  • Thierry Contini (scientist) & Laurent Parès (technical manager)

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