Next-generation VLTI Instrument MATISSE Heads for Paranal
15 september 2017
MATISSE, the Multi-AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment, has passed a suite of initial tests conducted at the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in France and will now be transported to Chile for integration into the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory.
MATISSE is a four-way beam combiner, meaning that it will combine the light collected by up to four of the eight telescopes that make up the VLTI, and perform both spectroscopic and imaging observations. In so doing, MATISSE and the VLTI will together possess the imaging power of a telescope up to 200 metres in diameter, depending on the telescope configuration, and will be capable of producing stunningly detailed images. MATISSE will observe infrared light from the L-band to the N-band, which lie between visible and microwave wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum. The instrument is designed to contribute to several fundamental research areas in astronomy, focusing on the inner regions of discs around young stars where planets are forming, the study of stars at different stages of their lives, and the environment around black holes in active galactic nuclei (AGN).
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