A new milestone towards the MOONS completion has been achieved with the manufacturing and delivery of the high-resolution H-band silicon prisms.
These large optical components, considered one of the main challenges of the instrument design due to their size and surface quality requirements, were designed by the INAF team in Arcetri, Florence. After a lengthy search for suppliers capable of making such components, New England Optical Systems, who are part of FLIR, were identified. They have fabricated, polished, and coated these elements to required impressive standards and they have now been happily received for integration at UKATC.
The resolving power of R>19,000 of the MOONS HR-H channel –now one step closer thanks to these recently delivered components– in combination with the 8.2m aperture of the Very Large Telescope and 1000 FPUs, will allow astronomers to measure the detailed chemistry and movement of millions of stars in the central regions of our Galaxy and far BEYOND! unfolding some of the critical missing pieces of the history and evolution of the Milky Way, currently hidden behind the immense amounts of dust obscuring optical wavelengths.