MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) is a second generation VLT integral field spectrograph (1x1arcmin² Field of View) developed for the European Southern Observatory (ESO), operating in the visible wavelength range (0.465-0.93 μm). A consortium of seven institutes is currently assembling and testing MUSE in the Integration Hall of the
Observatoire de Lyon for the Preliminary Acceptance in Europe, scheduled for 2013.
MUSE is composed of several subsystems which are under the responsibility of each institute. The Fore Optics derotates
and anamorphoses the image at the focal plane. A Splitting and Relay Optics feed the 24 identical Integral Field Units
(IFU), that are mounted within a large monolithic instrument mechanical structure. Each IFU incorporates an image
slicer, a fully refractive spectrograph with VPH-grating and a detector system connected to a global vacuum and
cryogenic system. During 2011, all MUSE subsystems were integrated, aligned and tested independently in each
institute. After validations, the systems were shipped to the P.I. institute at Lyon and were assembled in the Integration
This paper describes the end-to-end optical alignment procedure of the MUSE instrument. The design strategy, mixing
an optical alignment by manufacturing (plug and play approach) and few adjustments on key components, is presented.
We depict the alignment method for identifying the optical axis using several references located in pupil and image
planes. All tools required to perform the global alignment between each subsystem are described. The success of this
alignment approach is demonstrated by the good results for the MUSE image quality.
MUSE commissioning at the VLT (Very Large Telescope) is planned for 2013.