After completion of its final-design review last year, it is full steam ahead for the construction of the MOONS instrument - the next generation multi-object spectrograph for the VLT. This remarkable instrument will combine for the first time: the 8 m collecting power of the VLT, 1000 optical fibres with individual robotic positioners and both medium- and high-resolution spectral coverage acreoss the wavelength range 0.65μm - 1.8 μm. Such a facility will allow a veritable host of Galactic, Extragalactic and Cosmological questions to be addressed. In this paper we will report on the current status of the instrument, details of the early testing of key components and the major milestones towards its delivery to the telescope.
The New Adaptive Optics Module for Interferometry (NAOMI) is ready to be installed at the 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) at ESO Paranal. NAOMI will make the existing interferometer performance less dependent on the seeing conditions. Fed with higher and more stable Strehl, the fringe tracker will achieve the fringe stability necessary to reach the full performance of the second-generation instruments GRAVITY and MATISSE. All four ATs will be equipped between September and November 2018 with a Deformable mirror (ALPAO DM-241), a 4*4 Shack– Hartmann adaptive optics system operating in the visible and an RTC based on SPARTA Light. During the last 6 months thorough system test has been made in laboratory to demonstrate the Adaptive Optics and chopping capability of NAOMI.
The near-infrared GRAVITY instrument has become a fully operational spectro-imager, while expanding its capability to support astrometry of the key Galactic Centre science. The mid-infrared MATISSE instrument has just arrived on Paranal and is starting its commissioning phase. NAOMI, the new adaptive optics for the Auxiliary Telescopes, is about to leave Europe for an installation in the fall of 2018. Meanwhile, the interferometer infrastructure has continuously improved in performance, in term of transmission and vibrations, when used with both the Unit Telescopes and Auxiliary Telescopes. These are the highlights of the last two years of the VLTI 2nd generation upgrade started in 2015.
In this work, mid wavelength infrared microscopy imaging videos of several index finger pads, from voluntary people, are recorded to obtain their thermoregulation curves. The proposed non-invasive technique is able to capture spatial and temporal thermal information emitted from blood vessels under-skin, and the irrigation finger pad system, making possible to capture features that a visual-spectrum microscopy cannot detect. Using an infrared laboratory prepared method several voluntary patients exposed theirs fingers to thermal stress while the infrared data is recorded. Using standard infrared imaging and signal processing techniques the thermoregulation curves are estimated. The Cold/Hot Stress experiments have shown infrared data with exponential trend curves, with different recovering slopes for each voluntary person, and sometimes with two steps increasing slope in one person thermoregulation curve response.
GALACSI is the Adaptive Optics (AO) module that will serve the MUSE Integral Field Spectrograph. In Wide Field Mode it will enhance the collected energy in a 0.2”×0.2” pixel by a factor 2 at 750 nm over a Field of View (FoV) of 1’×1’ using the Ground Layer AO (GLAO) technique. In Narrow Field Mode, it will provide a Strehl Ratio of 5% (goal 10%) at 650 nm, but in a smaller FoV (7.5”×7.5” FoV), using Laser Tomography AO (LTAO). Before being ready for shipping to Paranal, the system has gone through an extensive testing phase in Europe, first in standalone mode and then in closed loop with the DSM in Europe. After outlining the technical features of the system, we describe here the first part of that testing phase and the integration with the AOF ASSIST (Adaptive Secondary Setup and Instrument Stimulator) testbench, including a specific adapter for the IRLOS truth sensor. The procedures for the standalone verification of the main system performances are outlined, and the results of the internal functional tests of GALACSI after full integration and alignment on ASSIST are presented.
On March 17, 2001, the VLT interferometer saw for the first time interferometric fringes on sky with its two test siderostats on a 16m baseline. Seven months later, on October 29, 2001, fringes were found with two of the four 8.2m Unit Telescopes (UTs), named Antu and Melipal, spanning a baseline of 102m. First shared risk science operations with VLTI will start in October 2002. The time between these milestones is used for further integration as well as for commissioning of the interferometer with the goal to understand all its characteristics and to optimize performance and observing procedures. In this article we will describe the various commissioning tasks carried out and present some results of our work.
This paper explores the use of direct drive servos in telescopes applications in the quest of standardization key concepts that might push to more reliable and cheaper solutions for future complex motion systems. Considerations related to different PWM Frequencies, Motor Phasing, position feedback, CAN-bus interfaces, etc. A collection of data from the VLT experience is presented showing the particular needs of the modern telescope’s drives. Can an industry standard amplifier meet the telescope specifications, and therefore be easier to maintain and offer a cheaper solution?
The large direct drive motors and encoders form together with the control system a high performance telescope exhibiting very high tracking accuracy. This paper describes the integration and fine-tuning of the VLT Drive Systems. It discusses the different problems encountered during the integration. The servo model that was used to simulate the problems and to find new solutions is described as well as test results and advanced analysis methods.