MOONS is effectively two instruments, the Rotating Front End (RFE) that bolts to the telescope and gathers the incoming light into optical fibres, and then the spectrograph where the light from the fibres is analysed. The RFE has been designed and built in Lisbon and after many years or painstaking work, it has now arrived … Continue reading Two instruments for the price of one!
A 500th Fibre Positioning Unit (FPU) was recently installed on the MOONS focal plate. This represents a significant moment as we are now halfway to completion of building up this remarkable forest of 1000 fibre positioners. The image below captures the growing collection of positioners in all their glory. Half the focal plate filled with FPUs … Continue reading Half-way home
MOONS has taken delivery of the two high-resolution H-band VPH diffraction gratings. These beautiful looking gratings were manufactured by Kaiser Optical Systems, Inc. in US and represent a remarkable technical achievement. Only a handful of such large gratings for these wavelengths and resolutions have ever been manufactured, and MOONS made the task even more challenging as its large … Continue reading New year, new gratings
MOONS has reached a major milestone. After years of planning, photons are about to pass through many metres of fibre, millions of pounds of optics and finally arrive on the detectors. This will be the first test of the full light path of the instrument, and indeed the first time many of the different components … Continue reading The photons are coming
Last week, the MOONS team at UKATC fitted all the fixed optics into their mounts and subsystems. This is an exciting milestone towards the full assembly of the instrument! The two fixed optics assemblies inside MOONS splits the light up to the three cameras on each side of the main bench. It does this using … Continue reading Installing the Fixed Optics
The first test "lift and fit" of the fixed optics in MOONS cryostat has been successfully completed last week by the team at UKATC. The activity is being led by our optical engineer Martin Black. As with everything on this project the pieces of glass are large, and in turn, so are the parts needed to hold them. Fully … Continue reading Lifting and fitting fixed optics
After a shutdown in operations at the end of March due to the pandemic, the MOONS Cambridge team working on camera assembling, testing and alignment is now back in action, already making excellent progress (and sharing impressive photos!). After access to the clean room for the first time (with some restrictions) in mid-July, the team … Continue reading Cooling down of MOONS cameras!
All the parts for the MOONS Rotating Front End Structure, after manufacturing by CUNHOL (Portugal), are now at the IA (Lisbon) MOONS integration room and the entire main structure, including its retraction and screen mechanisms, have been fully integrated. The MOONS rotating front-end is a large assembly that will be mounted on the VLT Nasmyth rotator … Continue reading The powerful rotating front-end
The MOONS cryostat has arrived in Edinburgh – and it’s big. This is a key milestone for the project and allows much of the major assembly to really get under way. MOONS will be unique in providing wavelength coverage out to 1.8 microns, with a high multiplex. But this comes at a cost: to work … Continue reading Blue MOONS
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 … Continue reading HR-H silicon prisms in the house