A new instrument gives the Very Large Telescope a clearer view of the universe


A new instrument gives the Very Large Telescope a clearer view of the universe

ERIS, the newest infrared eye on the sky from the Very Large Telescope, reveals the inner ring of galaxy NGC 1097 in stunning detail, in this comparison view. Credit: ESO/ERIS Team

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal in northern Chile, is undoubtedly one of the main Earth-based observatories. But a new infrared instrument recently installed on the telescope made the VLT even better.


The Enhanced Imaging and Spectroradiometer (ERIS) was delivered to Chile in December 2021 and the first test observations were made in February this year. ESO, European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, prof global organization Which coordinates the use of the VLT and many other observatories, says this infrared instrument “will be able to see more and in finer detail, leading the way in observing the solar system, exoplanets, and galaxies.”

The first official image released by ERIS confirms this assertion. This image above shows the galaxy NGC 1097, comparing the view of ERIS, right, with an image of the same galaxy taken with the previous instrument, NACO, which consists of the Nasmyth Adaptive Optics System (NAOS) and Near Infrared Imager and Spectrograph (CONICA), left .

As you can see, the new tool shows the galaxy in amazing detail. NGC 1097 is located 45 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation Fornax. The ERIS view shows a clearer picture of the ring of gas and dust that lies at the center of the galaxy, with a clearer view of the bright spots in the surrounding ring, which are stellar nurseries.

A new instrument gives the Very Large Telescope a clearer view of the universe

First light for ERIS, the Very Large Telescope’s newest infrared instrument. This image was captured through four different filters by ERIS’s latest infrared imaging instrument, the Near Infrared Camera System – or NIX. The filters here are represented by blue, green, red, and magenta, with the latter filter highlighting the regions embedded in the annulus. To put NIX resolution into perspective, this image shows, in detail, a portion of the sky less than 0.03% the size of the full moon. Credit: ESO/ERIS Team

The ERIS instrument combines a state-of-the-art infrared imager with a near-infrared camera system – or NIX imager (NIX) and integrated spectrophotometer (SPIFFIER – Spectrophotometer for Faint Field Infrared Imaging), both of which use laser-assisted Adaptive optics system To enhance imaging performance.

Adaptive optics corrects for the fading effects of Earth’s atmosphere in real time. ESO says ERIS will be active for at least a decade and is expected to make significant contributions to a myriad of topics in astronomy, from distant galaxies and black holes to exoplanets and dwarf planets within our solar system.

Harald Kuntschner, ESO project scientist for ERIS, said V press release“But because of its versatility, it will also be used in a variety of other scientific cases, and we hope it will lead to new and unexpected results.”

ERIS is installed on the VLT’s Telescope Module 4 and officials say the upgrade provides some fundamental improvements to the facility over the next decade.

Eris breathes new life into the essentials Adaptive optics The imaging and spectroscopy capability of the VLT, says Rick Davies, principal investigator for the ERIS consortium and researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. Now they are able to take advantage of the impressive accuracy and sensitivity that the instrument can achieve.”

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the quote: New Instrument Gives Very Large Telescope Sharper View of Universe (2022, November 25) Retrieved November 25, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-instrument-large-telescope-sharper-view.html

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