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First MOONS camera delivered and mounted

last modified Mar 03, 2019 05:29 PM

The Kavli institute for Cosmology, Cambridge is heavily involved, together with the Cavendish Laboratory and the Institute of Astronomy, in the development of MOONS, the next generation near-IR multi-object spectrograph for ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile.


Cambridge is responsible for designing the optomechanics and assembling, aligning and testing the six cameras of the spectrograph. The first set of optics for the first camera have been delivered and mounted in their housing.

MOONS Camera

Image: Camera assembled showing the primary aspherical lens with the smaller lens nested inside it (the detector will be located behind the central lens). An aspherical mirror is located at the bottom of the camera. David Sun, the engineer who has designed the optomechanics and led the assembly of the camera together with Martin Fisher, is pictured here (centre) together with Philippa Downing (left) and Steve Brereton (right).

These cameras use an innovative optical design, including a lens nested into a larger aspherical lens. The camera will be aligned and tested at cryogenic temperatures (-140 C) and also tested for resilience to simulated earthquake conditions.

MOONS Cryogenic chamber

Image: Large cryogenic test chamber that will host the optical bench (in the front) on which the camera and the alignment/testing optics are being mounted for cryogenic testing and alingment. David Sun (left) is pictured together with Roberto Maiolino (right).

For more information about MOONS please visit