MICADO will enable the ELT to perform diffraction limited near-infrared observations at first light. The instrument’s capabilities focus on imaging (including astrometric and high contrast) as well as single object spectroscopy. This contribution looks at how requirements from the observing modes have driven the instrument design and functionality. Using examples from specific science cases, and making use of the data simulation tool, an outline is presented of what we can expect the instrument to achieve.
The paper describes the preliminary design of the MICADO calibration assembly. MICADO, the Multi-AO Imaging CAmera for Deep Observations, is targeted to be one of the first light instruments of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) and it will embrace imaging, spectroscopic and astrometric capabilities including their calibration. The astrometric requirements are particularly ambitious aiming for ~ 50 μas differential precision within and between single epochs. The MICADO Calibration Assembly (MCA) shall deliver flat-field, wavelength and astrometric calibration and it will support the instrument alignment to the Single-Conjugate Adaptive Optics wavefront sensor. After a complete overview of the MCA subsystems, their functionalities, design and status, we will concentrate on the ongoing prototype testing of the most challenging components. Particular emphasis is put on the development and test of the Warm Astrometric Mask (WAM) for the calibration of the optical distortions within MICADO and MAORY, the multiconjugate AO module.
We report on our ongoing efforts to ensure that the MICADO NIR imager reaches differential absolute (often abbreviated: relative) astrometric performance limited by the SNR of typical observations. The exceptional 39m diameter collecting area in combination with a powerful multi-conjugate adaptive optics system (called MAORY) brings the nominal centroiding error, which scales as FWHM/SNR, down to a few 10 μas. Here we show that an exceptional effort is needed to provide a system which delivers adequate and calibrateable astrometric performance over the full field of view (up to 53 arcsec diameter).
MICADO will equip the E-ELT with a first light capability for diffraction limited imaging at near-infrared wavelengths. The instrument’s observing modes focus on various flavours of imaging, including astrometric, high contrast, and time resolved. There is also a single object spectroscopic mode optimised for wavelength coverage at moderately high resolution. This contribution provides an overview of the key functionality of the instrument, outlining the scientific rationale for its observing modes. The interface between MICADO and the adaptive optics system MAORY that feeds it is summarised. The design of the instrument is discussed, focusing on the optics and mechanisms inside the cryostat, together with a brief overview of the other key sub-systems.
The paper describes the developments towards an end-to-end optical model based on a commercial ray tracing software for studying the effects of the telescope and instrumental instabilities on the Multi-AO Imaging Camera for Deep Observations (MICADO). The primary goal and observing mode of MICADO is imaging, with a focus on relative astrometry with an accuracy of about 50 μas. To achieve this ambitious goal a careful examination of the possible random and systematic effects that can influence the astrometric accuracy is required. Here we concentrate on the perturbations coming from the different telescope and instrumental instabilities, mainly related to the static and dynamical perturbations of the European-Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) optics, the cold optics tolerances of the instrument and the intrinsic geometric distortions of both the systems. ESO developed an extended dataset of the E-ELT perturbations that are integrated inside the optical model of the telescope and the instrument relay optics for gathering the aberrated wavefronts. The wavefront error residuals are then propagated inside the system to check the distortions and their effects on the astrometric measurement at the instrument focal plane. From our analysis the dominating instrumental errors are: (i) the telescope induced distortions, in the order of => 100μas, that originate from the optics misalignments and presumably vary over <= 1hr time-scales, and must be calibrated against sky measurements; (ii) the instrument optics induced distortions that can reach ∼ 1 arcsec levels, but are more stable than the telescope perturbations. They will be calibrated with the use of an astrometric calibration mask. We derived the order of magnitude of the astrometric distortions of E-ELT and MICADO. The results of our study will help to define an efficient instrumental calibration strategy against the astrometric error of the instrument.
With the aim of paving the road for future accurate astrometry with MICADO at the European-ELT, we performed an astrometric study using two different but complementary approaches to investigate two critical components that contribute to the total astrometric accuracy. First, we tested the predicted improvement in the astrometric measurements with the use of an atmospheric dispersion corrector (ADC) by simulating realistic images of a crowded Galactic globular cluster. We found that the positional measurement accuracy should be improved by up to ∼ 2 mas with the ADC, making this component fundamental for high-precision astrometry. Second, we analysed observations of a globular cluster taken with the only currently available Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics assisted camera, GeMS/GSAOI at Gemini South. Making use of previously measured proper motions of stars in the field of view, we were able to model the distortions affecting the stellar positions. We found that they can be as large as ∼ 200 mas, and that our best model corrects them to an accuracy of ∼ 1 mas. We conclude that future astrometric studies with MICADO requires both an ADC and an accurate modelling of distortions to the field of view, either through an a-priori calibration or an a-posteriori correction.