UK Programme for the European Extremely Large Telescope

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics

Abstract

We propose a programme to enable the UK to take a leading role in the construction of the first generation of instruments for the world's largest optical and infrared telescope - the European Extremely Large Telescope. Previously funded STFC programmes have been used to develop technology and instrument concepts to put the UK in a position to take the PI role in one of the two 'first light' instruments for the E-ELT and to take significant roles in three of the instruments expected to closely follow. Strong involvement in a programme of instruments will give the UK considerable science return through direct influence on the scientific priorities of these instruments and early science through guaranteed time return to the UK. There will also be important industrial return to the UK in terms of direct contracts and technology transfer.

The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) project aims to provide European astronomers with the largest optical-infrared telescope in the world. With a diameter of 42m and being fully adaptive from the start by incorporating a large deformable mirror, the E-ELT will be more than one hundred times more sensitive than the present-day largest optical telescopes. The E-ELT will vastly advance astrophysical knowledge by enabling detailed studies of planets around other stars, the first galaxies in the Universe, black holes, and the nature of the Universe's dark matter and dark energy.

The E-ELT has now completed its Phase B study, led by ESO with strong involvement of European Industry, and a fully-costed construction proposal is now undergoing international review before to be put to ESO Council in December 2010. A series of instruments has gone through detailed Phase A studies with strong UK involvement. Out of this process, ESO has developed an instrument plan which has two instruments selected for 'first light' and a pool of six other instruments in competition to form a sequence in the first generation.

The ESO E-ELT Science Working Group (SWG) and the Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) have both recommended that the first light complement at the E-ELT should comprise a "HARMONI-like" spectrograph (ELT-IFU) and a "MICADO-like" imager (ELT-CAM). This first light complement is part of the instrumentation plan embedded in the E-ELT construction proposal.

The outcome of the ESO selection process places the UK in the unique position of being one of only two European countries leading the development of an E-ELT first light instrument. Given the enormous discovery potential of the E-ELT, this provides UK astrophysicists with an unprecedented opportunity to exploit the power of the world's largest ground based optical/near-IR telescope.

Planned Impact

The two key beneficiaries of this research will be (a) the general public in the UK -- Astronomy has always been extremely effective at enthusing students to study math and science up to a high level of proficiency. The E-ELT will be the world's largest ground based telescope for optical/near-infrared astronomy when it is built. By having a UK led team building the first light spectrograph for such an eye-catching facility will contribute enormously to the UK's reputation in high-tech science and engineering, and provide renewed enthusiasm to the population at large.
(b) students who are at an advanced stage of their career: coupled with this program, we will be offering up to six D.Phil studentships at Oxford. These will provide unique doctoral training opportunities for the next generation of professional instrumentalists to hone their research skills in the field of astronomical instrumentation. This will help ensure continued leadership by the UK in this area of expertise.

In addition, we can foresee the following benefits:
UK Industry: Part of Project Office role is to continue to publicise the E-ELT programme and advise on areas in which UK Industry may bid for contracts for the E-ELT telescope and instrumentation build phases. In addition, with a small amount of the funds in the overall R&D programme instrument will be used for work with UK Industry and a substantial amount of the equipment being bought is likely to be from the UK.
UK Industry / UK PLC: there may be spin-offs from some of the astronomy-directed R&D (e.g. pick-off mirror micro-robots)
UK PLC via trained scientists (e.g. from PhD studentships)
Promotion of science within the UK:
UK School students, as part of the Public engagement element (e.g. Big Telescopes for Big Science programme) partly funded within this proposal.
UK General Public, via the Outreach programme events and announcements.

The goals of the Outreach Programme (see Public Engagement section of the detailed proposal) are:
Ensure such milestones receive appropriate national media coverage
Further establish and exploit the 'Big Telescopes for Big Questions' and the 'Dark Sky UK' initiatives, providing and using material in conjunction with JWST/MIRI and other major facilities
Organise more educational activities across a broader UK base for professionals and volunteers, refining and utilising powerful concepts and resources already piloted, for example under the auspices of the RSSE, also continuing to work with ESO and other E-ELT partners
Generate new sponsorships, with a goal to include industry as build opportunities are realised.

See also Economic Impact and Knowledge Exchange section of the detailed proposal.

Publications

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Allen Jamie R. (2014) Cryogenic testing of components for the HARMONI spectrograph in Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V

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Allen Jamie R. (2014) Cryogenic testing of components for the HARMONI spectrograph in Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V

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Allen Jamie R. (2014) Cryogenic testing of components for the HARMONI spectrograph in Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V

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Barnsley Robert M. (2018) Can the European ELT detect super-Earths? Measuring the contrast limit of an image-slicer spectrograph in a laboratory experiment: an update on progress in Advances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation III

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Biller Beth A. (2014) Results from the Gemini NICI Planet-Finding Campaign in Adaptive Optics Systems IV

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Bont D (2013) Photometric analysis of Abell 1689 in IAU Symposium

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Bounissou S. (2018) Simulating the detection and classification of high-redshift supernovae with HARMONI on the ELT in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

 
Description This grant funded work on HARMONI, the first light spectrograph for the European Extremely Large Telescope. We further developed the conceptual design of the instrument, taking into account changes to the telescope & interface design. This grant supported the Interim Study (and Interim Study extension) co-sponsored by the European Southern Observatory. During this grant, we developed (jointly with ESO) the technical specifications of the instrument. We also carried out detailed simulations of several observing programmes we hope to carry out with the instrument.
Exploitation Route We have developed conceptual design for a near-infrared and visible wavelength integral field spectrograph. The optical design, mechanical cryogenic lens mounting techniques etc. could be of use to others.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

URL http://astroweb1.physics.ox.ac.uk/instr/HARMONI/
 
Description Call for Proposals (ESO)
Amount € 80,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Southern Observatory (ESO) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Germany
Start 04/2013 
End 09/2014
 
Description ESO Hardware Grant for HARMONI Design and Build
Amount € 18,200,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Southern Observatory (ESO) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Germany
Start 10/2015 
End 11/2024
 
Description HARMONI Interim Study
Amount € 80,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Southern Observatory (ESO) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Germany
Start 07/2013 
End 10/2014
 
Description PPRP
Amount £530,188 (GBP)
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2008 
End 03/2012
 
Description Urgency grant
Amount £3,498,611 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/N002717/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 03/2019
 
Description HARMONI consortium 
Organisation Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands
Department Engineering & Instrumentation
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Univ. of Oxford played a pivotal role in the HARMONI Phase A study, as it was the PI institute. N. Thatte was the Principal Investigator of the instrument study, and led the consortium.
Collaborator Contribution DAMIR helped in the HARMONI instrument Phase A design by providing the detailed design for the calibration system of the instrument, and providing computations of sensitivity.
Impact The HARMONI Phase A instrument design selection of an HARMONI-like instrument as one of two first-light instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT)
Start Year 2007
 
Description HARMONI consortium 
Organisation Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseile
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Univ. of Oxford played a pivotal role in the HARMONI Phase A study, as it was the PI institute. N. Thatte was the Principal Investigator of the instrument study, and led the consortium.
Collaborator Contribution DAMIR helped in the HARMONI instrument Phase A design by providing the detailed design for the calibration system of the instrument, and providing computations of sensitivity.
Impact The HARMONI Phase A instrument design selection of an HARMONI-like instrument as one of two first-light instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT)
Start Year 2007
 
Description HARMONI consortium 
Organisation Lyon Observatory
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Univ. of Oxford played a pivotal role in the HARMONI Phase A study, as it was the PI institute. N. Thatte was the Principal Investigator of the instrument study, and led the consortium.
Collaborator Contribution DAMIR helped in the HARMONI instrument Phase A design by providing the detailed design for the calibration system of the instrument, and providing computations of sensitivity.
Impact The HARMONI Phase A instrument design selection of an HARMONI-like instrument as one of two first-light instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT)
Start Year 2007
 
Description HARMONI consortium 
Organisation National Office for Aerospace Studies and Research
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Univ. of Oxford played a pivotal role in the HARMONI Phase A study, as it was the PI institute. N. Thatte was the Principal Investigator of the instrument study, and led the consortium.
Collaborator Contribution DAMIR helped in the HARMONI instrument Phase A design by providing the detailed design for the calibration system of the instrument, and providing computations of sensitivity.
Impact The HARMONI Phase A instrument design selection of an HARMONI-like instrument as one of two first-light instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT)
Start Year 2007
 
Description HARMONI consortium 
Organisation Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
Department Department of Molecular and Infrared Astrophysics (DAMIR)
Country Spain 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Univ. of Oxford played a pivotal role in the HARMONI Phase A study, as it was the PI institute. N. Thatte was the Principal Investigator of the instrument study, and led the consortium.
Collaborator Contribution DAMIR helped in the HARMONI instrument Phase A design by providing the detailed design for the calibration system of the instrument, and providing computations of sensitivity.
Impact The HARMONI Phase A instrument design selection of an HARMONI-like instrument as one of two first-light instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT)
Start Year 2007
 
Description HARMONI consortium 
Organisation UK Astronomy Technology Centre (ATC)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Univ. of Oxford played a pivotal role in the HARMONI Phase A study, as it was the PI institute. N. Thatte was the Principal Investigator of the instrument study, and led the consortium.
Collaborator Contribution DAMIR helped in the HARMONI instrument Phase A design by providing the detailed design for the calibration system of the instrument, and providing computations of sensitivity.
Impact The HARMONI Phase A instrument design selection of an HARMONI-like instrument as one of two first-light instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT)
Start Year 2007
 
Description HARMONI science team 
Organisation Durham University
Department Astronomy & Astrophysics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We led the HARMONI science team, that came up with key science cases for this instrument, and developed those through simulations to help determine the top level requirements for the instrument
Collaborator Contribution Helped build the science case for the instrument
Impact Article in the ESO Messenger, the HARMONI Phase A study scientific analysis document, and papers in the Proceedings of the SPIE conference on Telescopes and Astronomical Instrumentation, 2010.
Start Year 2008
 
Description HARMONI science team 
Organisation European Southern Observatory (ESO)
Country Germany 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We led the HARMONI science team, that came up with key science cases for this instrument, and developed those through simulations to help determine the top level requirements for the instrument
Collaborator Contribution Helped build the science case for the instrument
Impact Article in the ESO Messenger, the HARMONI Phase A study scientific analysis document, and papers in the Proceedings of the SPIE conference on Telescopes and Astronomical Instrumentation, 2010.
Start Year 2008
 
Description HARMONI science team 
Organisation European Space Agency
Department Science and Operations Department
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We led the HARMONI science team, that came up with key science cases for this instrument, and developed those through simulations to help determine the top level requirements for the instrument
Collaborator Contribution Helped build the science case for the instrument
Impact Article in the ESO Messenger, the HARMONI Phase A study scientific analysis document, and papers in the Proceedings of the SPIE conference on Telescopes and Astronomical Instrumentation, 2010.
Start Year 2008
 
Description HARMONI science team 
Organisation Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands
Country Spain 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We led the HARMONI science team, that came up with key science cases for this instrument, and developed those through simulations to help determine the top level requirements for the instrument
Collaborator Contribution Helped build the science case for the instrument
Impact Article in the ESO Messenger, the HARMONI Phase A study scientific analysis document, and papers in the Proceedings of the SPIE conference on Telescopes and Astronomical Instrumentation, 2010.
Start Year 2008
 
Description HARMONI science team 
Organisation Lyon Observatory
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We led the HARMONI science team, that came up with key science cases for this instrument, and developed those through simulations to help determine the top level requirements for the instrument
Collaborator Contribution Helped build the science case for the instrument
Impact Article in the ESO Messenger, the HARMONI Phase A study scientific analysis document, and papers in the Proceedings of the SPIE conference on Telescopes and Astronomical Instrumentation, 2010.
Start Year 2008
 
Description HARMONI science team 
Organisation National Institute for Astrophysics
Department Bologna Observatory
Country Italy 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We led the HARMONI science team, that came up with key science cases for this instrument, and developed those through simulations to help determine the top level requirements for the instrument
Collaborator Contribution Helped build the science case for the instrument
Impact Article in the ESO Messenger, the HARMONI Phase A study scientific analysis document, and papers in the Proceedings of the SPIE conference on Telescopes and Astronomical Instrumentation, 2010.
Start Year 2008
 
Description HARMONI science team 
Organisation Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
Department Department of Molecular and Infrared Astrophysics (DAMIR)
Country Spain 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We led the HARMONI science team, that came up with key science cases for this instrument, and developed those through simulations to help determine the top level requirements for the instrument
Collaborator Contribution Helped build the science case for the instrument
Impact Article in the ESO Messenger, the HARMONI Phase A study scientific analysis document, and papers in the Proceedings of the SPIE conference on Telescopes and Astronomical Instrumentation, 2010.
Start Year 2008
 
Description HARMONI science team 
Organisation University of Groningen
Department Kapteyn Astronomical Institute
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We led the HARMONI science team, that came up with key science cases for this instrument, and developed those through simulations to help determine the top level requirements for the instrument
Collaborator Contribution Helped build the science case for the instrument
Impact Article in the ESO Messenger, the HARMONI Phase A study scientific analysis document, and papers in the Proceedings of the SPIE conference on Telescopes and Astronomical Instrumentation, 2010.
Start Year 2008
 
Description HARMONI science team 
Organisation University of Hertfordshire
Department School of Physics and Astronomy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We led the HARMONI science team, that came up with key science cases for this instrument, and developed those through simulations to help determine the top level requirements for the instrument
Collaborator Contribution Helped build the science case for the instrument
Impact Article in the ESO Messenger, the HARMONI Phase A study scientific analysis document, and papers in the Proceedings of the SPIE conference on Telescopes and Astronomical Instrumentation, 2010.
Start Year 2008
 
Description HARMONI science team 
Organisation University of Leicester
Department Department of Physics & Astronomy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We led the HARMONI science team, that came up with key science cases for this instrument, and developed those through simulations to help determine the top level requirements for the instrument
Collaborator Contribution Helped build the science case for the instrument
Impact Article in the ESO Messenger, the HARMONI Phase A study scientific analysis document, and papers in the Proceedings of the SPIE conference on Telescopes and Astronomical Instrumentation, 2010.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Feeding the Giants - Conference on Extremely Large Telescopes in the era of large surveys 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I was co-organiser of this international conference to discuss the role of Extremely Large Telescopes in the era of large surveys. This was an extremely well attended workshop with plenty of discussion and discourse between representatives from different telescopes/facilities and the international science community spread over a wide range of topics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL https://www.eso.org/sci/meetings/2011/feedgiant.html
 
Description IET Presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Outreach presentation and discussion on technology developments in WEAVE and Gaia.

Request for more talks to this and other organisations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Invited talk at the University of Kent at Canterbury 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussion and dissemination of the E-ELT project and the UK instrumentation programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Invited talk on the E-ELT to undergraduate students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Dissemination of information regarding the E-ELT project and the UK instrumentation programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description School Visit (Christ Church) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Introduction to the Milky Way talk for 60 pupils in years 5-8 followed by lengthy discussion and multiple follow up correspondences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description School Visit (OHS) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 60 pupils in year 5. Talk to the whole year on how we explore the Universe with some insights into upcoming facilities and possibilities.. Coordinated with the school as an input to a wider science topic on 'space'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description School visit (Abingdon) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk on Dark Matter and Cosmology to 45 sixth form students at the Abingdon School. Warmly received.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk for Continuing Education department 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation on developments of the use of Light in Astronomy as part of the International Year of Light to interested members of the general public attending a saturday workshop at the department of continuing education (Rewley House) in Oxford.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/F900-34
 
Description alumni weekend 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Poster Presentation
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Alumni of Oxford University were treated to an astronomy evening, including sky-watching, and an EELT themed presentation with posters, brochures and flyers

exposed the public to the challenges and potential of the EELT project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description open evening 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 35 pupils attended an EELT themed open evening at Oxford.

secondary school children were enthused about the technology of adaptive optics, especially using laser stars
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013