MOSAIC Phase A Completion

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


This proposal forms an additional component of the UK contribution to MOSAIC, a wide-field spectroscopy facility to be constructed for ESO's 39m Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) as a partnership between The Observatories de Paris, the UK (UKATC, Durham, Oxford, RALSpace) and collaborators in The Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal

MOSAIC will use the full 10 arc minute field of view available to the E-ELT with a fibre positioning system capable of feeding up to 200 MOS targets and steerable pick-off mirrors to select natural guide stars for acquisition and field stabilisation, or integral fields for study with Multi-Object Adaptive Optics. The instrument is expected to be constructed before the end of the next decade.

Thus UK components of the instrument include the optical design of the spectrographs, the robotic fibre positioning system, and the adaptive optics systems.

The key scientific goals for MOSAIC are to study the evolution of star formation and gas dynamics in the earliest galaxies, to map the large-scale structure of the universe by studying sight-lines to distant galaxies, and to make detailed studies of the stellar populations in nearby galaxies.

Planned Impact

The MOSIAC positioner is intended to be a low-risk part project, with little scope for technology development in most areas. The primary impact is expected to arise from the science data itself, both in terms of the development of our understanding of the key scientific issues, and in the accessibility of this understanding to the wider public audience,in terms of both the scientific results from the instrument.