Spectroscopy is the art of spreading white light out into its component colours. We then look at the different parts of this rainbow to understand the properties of objects. We are building a powerful new instrument to work with the Giant Magellan Telescope to record images and spectra ten times sharper than possible with the Hubble Space Telescope.
Our instrument is designed to do a lot of different science with the powerful new telescope. Our team is interested in how galaxies form and evolve as well and measuring the masses of black holes. Other groups will look at how stars are born and die. We even have a small role to play in looking for planets around nearby stars.
Our team works with astronomers around the world to understand what the instrument needs to do in detail. We then design the instrument ready to be manufactured by local (and international) industry. The parts then arrive at our Mount Stromlo laboratory in Canberra, Australia so that the instrument can be built and tested before it will be shipped to the GMT telescope in Chile when it is ready for astronomy.
When the instrument, and the telescope, are both ready, we will take it to the mountain top in Chile to start doing new astronomy. Much of the design and testing for this instrument will also generate new ideas and new technology that we will then use as part of our next projects.
Sharp, R. et al., 2016, Proc. SPIE, 9908E 1YS,
GMTIFS: The Giant Magellan Telescope integral fields spectrograph and imager