Images above: Preliminary design of the METIS instrument inside its cryostat (left) and the way the completed instrument will be installed in the cryostat (right).


METIS, the Mid-Infrared E-ELT imager and Spectrograph, is one of three first-light instruments current under development for the European-Extremely Large Telescope. With its unique combination of high angular and spectral resolution, METIS will open up a new parameter space for infrared astronomy, and enable observations which have never been possible before.  METIS is a general purpose science instrument focusing on a wide range of targets from Solar System bodies, charaterization of exoplanets to distant starburst galaxies, in areas where METIS will be fully complementary to the ALMA array and the James Webb Space Telescope.

METIS will be the only instrument covering the thermal/mid-infrared wavelength range on the E-ELT.  It will provide diffraction limited performance in several modes:

  • – broad and narrow-band imaging from 3 – 19 μm,
  • – coronagraphy from 3 – 13 μm,
  • – low-medium resolution (R ~ few hundred – thousands) slit spectroscopy from 3 – 13 μm,
  • – high resolution (R ~ 100,000) IFU spectroscopy from 2.9 – 5.3 μm.

METIS offers a moderate field of view size of at least 10″ x 10″, which is corrected for atmospheric turbulence by a single conjugate (SC) – and later also a laser tomography (LT) – adaptive optics (AO) system. The design of the SCAO system is driven by the exoplanet science case, while the LTAO system is motivated by the lack of sufficiently bright guide sources in many science areas.  METIS will be located at a lateral port on the Nasmyth platform.

METIS is being developed by an international consortium lead by NOVA as the PI institute. NOVA is leading the overall systems engineering of the instrument and will construct the fore optics, which forms the heart of the instrument. The integration and testing of the instrument will also be performed at a NOVA facility in the Netherlands.

News and further details on METIS can be found on the project website.

The METIS principal investigator is Prof. dr. Bernhard Brandl (Leiden observatory).