MICADO is the first light instrument for the E-ELT providing an adaptive optics camera and slit spectrometer. Building a large aperture telescope brings with it dramatically increased spatial resolution only if it can work at or close to its diffraction limit. MICADO is designed to make use of both single conjugate (SCAO) and multi-conjugate (MCAO) adaptive optics facilities to regularly obtain diffraction limited images of unparalleled sensitivity straight away from the first light of the E-ELT. MICADO also includes a slit spectrometer for fast follow up of MICADO imaging.
MICADO will allow breakthroughs in a broad range of scientific fields, including: black holes in the center of globular clusters and galaxies, including our own Galaxy; accurate proper motions for nearby galaxies and globular clusters; resolving individual Red Giant Branch stars in the central regions of distant Elliptical galaxies; high resolution imaging and spectroscopy of individual star formation regions in high red-shift galaxies and strong gravitational lenses; discovery and characterization of Supernovae and Gamma Ray Burst explosions at high red-shift. MICADO will right from the start of operations be at the forefront of high spatial resolution sensitive optical/infrared imaging and long wavelength coverage spectroscopy in the new era of ELTs.
The NOVA contribution to MICADO includes scientific support, and coordinated hardware (Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector, focal plane unit & filter wheels) and software (data flow and pipelines). These contributions are carefully chosen to support the Dutch scientific and technical interests. It makes NOVA one of the major partners in the MICADO consortium. The PI (Ric Davies) is at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), which is an institute with a long history of developing and building successful Adaptive Optics instrumentation. MPE is making the major investment in this project, and other international partners include the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), Munich Observatory, Göttingen, LESIA at Paris Observatory and a consortium of Austrian Institutes (Vienna, Innsbruck & Linz).
Further information can be found on the MICADO website hosted by MPE.
The NOVA principal investigator for MICADO is Prof. dr. Eline Tolstoy (Kapteyn institute, Groningen).
Image below: Early concept of MICADO installed as the first instrument at the E-ELT pre-focal station. Credit: The MICADO consortium.
Text & picture.