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FNWI --- IMAPP Department of Astrophysics
Radboud University > Faculty of Science > Department of Astrophysics > Research > Instrumentation Development

Instrumentation Development

The Department is involved in a number of international instrumentation project, as well as a few smaller national or local projects.

An overview is given here:

  • X-Shooter on the VLT

X-Shooter is a new high efficiency, wide-band spectrograph which will become operational on the ESO VLT in the first quarter of 2009. It will cover the wavelength range 0.3 - 2.5 μm instantaneously at a resolution of ℜs = 4500-7000, and with a total system efficiency >25%. X-Shooter will operate with three arms (UV: atmospheric cut-off - 5500 Å), VIS (5500Å - 1.0μ) and NIR (1.0 - 2.5 μ).

X-Shooter is built by a consortium of institutes consisting of the Nederlandse Onderzoekschool voor Astronomie (NOVA, NL), INAF (I), Niels Bohr Institute (Copenhagen, DK), GEPI (Paris, F) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Paul Groot is Project Scientist of the X-Shooter project. The cryostat of the NIR arm was designed and built at the Radboud University Nijmegen, in collaboration between the TechnoCenter of the Faculty of Sciences and the Department of Astrophysics.

Contact: Paul Groot

  • LOFAR/Cosmic Rays
  • Radio@Auger
  • OPTIMOS-EVE on the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT)

OPTIMOS-EVE is a Phase A study for an optical-near infrared multiobject spectrograph on the European Extremely Large Telescope. The study will consider a medium resolution (ℜs≥5000), fiber-fed spectrograph with a wavelength coverage over 0.35 - 1.7 μm at a high multiplicity (≥300). The OPTIMOS-EVE consortium consists of GEPI (Paris, F), NOVA (NL), RAL/Oxford (UK), INAF (I), Niels Bohr Institute (DK), Heidelberg & Potsdam (D). The OPTIMOS-EVE study is led by Francois Hammer (PI: GEPI) and Lex Kaper (co-PI: NOVA), with Ramon Navarro (NOVA) as Project Manager. Paul Groot is Dutch PI, member of the Science Team, and member of the Project Board. The TechoCenter of the Faculty of Sciences of the RU will be responsible for the mechanical design of the near-infrared arm.

Contact: Paul Groot

  • Lunar Radio Observatory

Moon seems to be a key target for scientific projects via global robotic and human space exploration. One of the most demanding area in astronomy is using the lunar surface for low-frequency astronomy. Currently huge ground-based facilities (such as LOFAR and Auger observatory) are being built to observe universe at frequencies down to ~30 MHz. At even lower frequencies the universe is as yet completely unchartered. Due to the ionospheric cut-off of the Earth at 10-30 MHz observations at lower frequencies would have to be conducted from space and shielded from Earth’s strong radio emission. This favours a lunar far-side location over a formation-flight solution. Also, even at higher frequencies Moon offers a unique location for high-dynamic range imaging, due to the virtual absence of an ionosphere. The astrophysics department is actively involved in ESA Lunar studies. We are also collaborating with two major Lunar observatory projects:

- The Lunar Radio Explorer (LRX) - two-element interferometer

- A Lunar LOFAR - thirtythree-element intereferometer

For instance we are currently working on a prototype antenna on the Moon as part of LRX project. For more information about projects and Lunar Radio Astronomy visit our website: http://www.astro.ru.nl/Moon/doku.php