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Image above: Preliminary design of MOSAIC, the multi-object spectrometer for the E-ELT. During the phase A study, NOVA will be involved in the design and development. Image credit: The MOSAIC consortium.


MOSAIC is the proposed multi-object spectrometer for the E-ELT. It is expected to become the its workhorse instrument for astrophysics, intergalactic medium studies and cosmology in the coming decades. MOSAIC will fully explore the large aperture and superb spatial resolution of the biggest eye on the sky. Key science cases involve searching for extra-galactic planets, resolving stellar populations in thousands of nearby galaxies, and studying high-redshift galaxies at the edge of the visible universe.

MOSAIC is a fiber-fed spectrometer, covering the full field of view of the telescope with several hundred fibers. It includes a dozen integral field units with adaptive optics capability delivering milli-arcsec spatial resolution, providing spectra ranging from the ultraviolet to the near infrared (380 – 2500 nm) at intermediate spectral resolution. It combines the flexibility and high multiplex of a fiber-fed spectrograph and the superb spatial resolution of AO assisted integral field units. These two concepts were evaluated during the phase A studies of, respectively, OPTIMOS-EVE and EAGLE. These phase A studies were successfully completed in 2010. Inspired by the common-focal plane approach of e.g. the Hubble Space Telescope, the OPTIMOS-EVE and EAGLE concepts were merged into one instrument concept called MOSAIC.

A new phase-A study for the merged MOSAIC concept is now underway. The study is being conducted by scientists from Brazil, France, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, as the main partners. Another six European countries are associated with the consortium at different levels.

Further information can be found on the MOSAIC project website.

The NOVA principal investigator for MOSAIC is Prof. dr. lex Kaper (Anton Pannekoek institute, Amsterdam)