Multi-AO Imaging Camera for Deep Observations

MICADO is the Multi-AO Imaging Camera for Deep Observations. It will equip the 40-m-class Extremely Large Telescope with a first light capability for diffraction-limited imaging and long-slit spectroscopy at near-infrared wavelengths. It is being designed and built under the leadership of MPE by a consortium of partners in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, and Finland together with ESO.

The instrument will work with a multiconjugate laser guide star adaptive-optics system (MCAO, developed by the MAORY consortium) as well as a single-conjugate natural guide star adaptive-optics system (SCAO, developed by the MICADO and MAORY consortia). If required for an initial phase, MICADO will be able to operate with just the SCAO system in a "stand-alone" mode.

With a point source sensitivity comparable to JWST and a resolution that is improved by about factor six, MICADO has the potential to address a large number of science topics that span the key elements of modern astrophysics. The science drivers focus on several main themes: the dynamics of dense stellar systems, black holes in galaxies and the center of the Milky Way, the star formation history of galaxies through resolved stellar populations, the formation and evolution of galaxies in the early universe, planets and planet formation, and the solar system. To address these, MICADO's key capabilities of sensitivity and resolution are ideal, as they are in turn used by its observing modes of imaging (covering a field of view of 50 arcseconds at 0.8 to 2.4 µm), astrometry (50 microarcseconds precision for brighter sources), coronagraphy (using focal and pupil plane coronagraphs), and slit spectroscopy (covering 1.49 to 2.45 µm and 0.82 to 1.55 µm at R ~ 20,000).

Major Milestones

October 2015: Kickoff

November 2018: Preliminary design review

April 2021: Start of final design review process

End of 2026: Preliminary acceptance Europe

March 2027: ELT first light with MICADO

September 2027: Start of science operations

2029: Final acceptance


MPE: Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics), Garching

MPIA: Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy), Heidelberg

USM: Universitäts-Sternwarte München (University Observatory Munich)

IAG: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Stiftung Öffentlichen Rechts, ausführendes Institut: Institut für Astrophysik (University of Göttingen Public Law Foundation, executing institute: Institute for Astrophysics)

NOVA: Nederlandse Onderzoekschool voor de Astronomie (Netherlands Research School for Astronomy). NOVA is a federation of several astronomical institutes. Specific contributions to MICADO come from the University of Groningen, the University of Leiden, and the NOVA optical/infrared instrumentation group based at ASTRON in Dwingeloo.

CNRS/INSU: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers in France ("National Center of Scientific Research") represented by LESIA, GEPI, and IPAG

A*: An Austrian partnership collectively represented by the University of Vienna; the A* partnership comprises the University of Vienna, the University of Innsbruck, the University of Graz, the University of Linz, and RICAM Linz (Austrian Academy of Sciences). Contributions to MICADO come from Vienna, Innsbruck, and Linz.

INAF: Instituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (National Institute for Astrophysics) in Italy, represented by the Observatory of Padova

FINCA: Suomen ESO-keskus (Finnish Center for Astronomy with ESO), Turku

Related Links

MICADO on the ESO/ELT Instruments website





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