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Proceedings Paper

Instruments for a European Extremely Large Telescope: the challenges of designing instruments for 30- to 100-m telescopes
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Paper Abstract

Designs for Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs) are quite well advanced, but the requirements of instruments have had limited impact. Since provision of a suitable environment for instruments is a critical aspect of all telescopes, we outline some well-known and some less-appreciated challenges of designing instruments for ELTs. A wide-field spectrometer (WFSPEC) with ~10 arcmin field-of-view, probably with AO correction of ground-layer seeing, illustrates the well-known difficulty of matching modern detector pixels to large (~0."3) images. The challenges of exploiting wide-field (1'-2' FOV) high-performance AO systems on ELTs are illustrated by a Multi-Object Multi-field Spectrometer and Imager (MOMSI), which provides imaging and integral-field spectroscopy, at near-diffraction-limited pixel scales, of targets in approximately 300 subfields each. This instrument, roughly equivalent to all the astronomical spectrometers yet built, extracts ~200 times less of the available information from the ELT's FOV than near-future instruments on 8-m class telescopes will do for their hosts. We emphasise the great size of such instruments (40-100 tonnes, 100-200 m3) and the need to accommodate this size in telescope plans. A third area of challenge is the exploitation of the potential capabilities of ELTs in the mid-IR, where they would offer powerful complements to JWST and ALMA; low-emissivity telescope designs and, possibly, cryogenic AO, may be needed. Finally, we outline the potential challenges of correcting atmospheric dispersion effects.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 September 2004
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 5492, Ground-based Instrumentation for Astronomy, (30 September 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.551473
Show Author Affiliations
Adrian P.G. Russell, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)
Guy Monnet, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Andreas Quirrenbach, Univ. Leiden (Netherlands)
Roland Bacon, Observatoire de Lyon (France)
Michael Redfern, National Univ. of Ireland/Galway (Ireland)
Torben Andersen, Lund Observatory (Sweden)
Arne Ardeberg, Lund Observatory (Sweden)
Eli Atad-Ettedgui, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)
Timothy G. Hawarden, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5492:
Ground-based Instrumentation for Astronomy
Alan F. M. Moorwood; Masanori Iye, Editor(s)

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