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Astronomy

Roland Bacon plenary: Highlights from the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE), a 2nd generation VLT instrument for the VLT

A plenary talk from SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2014

16 July 2014, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201407.15

Roland Bacon, Observatoire de Lyon (France) and the MUSE consortium The Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) is a second-generation VLT panoramic integral-field spectrograph. The instrument is designed to take advantage of the VLT ground layer adaptive optics ESO facility using four laser guide stars. MUSE couples the discovery potential of a large imaging device to the measuring capabilities of a high-quality spectrograph, while taking advantage of the increased spatial resolution provided by adaptive optics.

After a successful preliminary acceptance in Europe in 2013, MUSE was dismounted, shipped to Chile and re-integrated in the Paranal new integration hall and finally installed on the Nasmyth platform of UT4 late January this year. During the two commissioning runs, hundreds of millions of spectra were obtained in order to validate the instrument and measure its performance.

Preliminary results show that MUSE may become a new reference in the field of integral field spectroscopy thanks to its large field of view, high throughput, excellent image quality, good spectral resolution, wide simultaneous spectral range, and state-of-the art control and data reduction software.

Roland Bacon, an extragalactic astronomer and an instrumentalist, is director of research at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). He has been director of the Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon for ten years.  Since 2001, he has been the principal investigator of MUSE, the 2nd generation panoramic integral-field spectrograph for the VLT.