MOONS is the project of a Multi Object Optical and Near-infrared Spectrograph for the VLT. The project has been selected by ESO as third generation instrument for the VLT and successfully completed the Phase-A Study.
The large aperture of the VLT combined with the large multiplex and wavelength coverage (0.8-1.8 micron) will provide the observational power necessary to study galaxy formation and evolution over the entire history of the Universe, from our Milky Way, through the redshift desert and up to the epoch of re-ionization at z>8-9. At the same time, the high spectral resolution mode will allow astronomers to study chemical abundances of stars in our Galaxy, in particular in the highly obscured regions of the Bulge, and provide the necessary follow-up of the Gaia mission. Such characteristics and versatility make MOONS the long-awaited workhorse near-IR MOS for the VLT, which will perfectly complement optical spectroscopy performed by FLAMES and VIMOS.
The baseline design consists of ~1000 fibers deployable over a field of view of ~500 square arcmin, the largest patrol field offered by the Nasmyth focus at the VLT. MOONS will provide full, simultaneous spectral coverage coverage in the 0.8-1.8 micron at medium resolution (R~4,000-6,000) the entire wavelength range 0.8m-1.8m is observed simultaneously, while the high resolution mode covers simultaneously three selected spectral regions: one around the CaII triplet (at R~7,000) to measure radial velocities, and two regions at R~20,000 one in the J-band and one in the H-band, for detailed measurements of chemical abundances.
More information about the project can be found at the MOONS webpage.
People from OABO involved in the project: Livia Origlia (Scientist, coordinator of the Galactic Sceince Case), Angela Bragaglia (Scientist), Michele Bellazzini (Scientist), Giovanni Zamorani (Scientist), Emilano Diolaiti (Optics Consultant).
Cirasuolo, M. et al., 2012, SPIE 84460S
Oliva E., et al., 2012, SPIE 84464V
Cirasuolo M., et al., 2011, The Messenger 145, 11