Instruments Projects

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Instrumentation developments are organised and managed by the Instrumentation Division (INS) located at ESO's Garching Headquarters. INS also hosts the Instrumentation Project Office of the E-ELT.

Inhouse development

The following operational instruments have been built under the complete responsibility of ESO:

For Paranal

For La Silla

Development together with external consortia

Together with external consortia ESO was responsible for the definition and contributed to the design, construction and implementation at the observatories of the following instruments and facilities:

For Paranal

For La Silla


A special case is the Visitor Focus on VLT-Antu (UT1), which is reserved for visitor instruments to permit innovative observations by instrument teams using their own stand-alone instruments.

What else?

Interfaces: One crucial aspect of instrument building is to make sure that they work properly with the telescope(s) for which they are designed. For this purpose ESO exercises strict control over the interfaces between the VLT observatory and its instruments. The detailed requirements on VLT instruments are available online.

Instrument upgrades: Upgrades keep the instruments competitive and may be proposed from outside or inside ESO.