MOONS: a Multi-Object Optical and Near-infrared Spectrograph for the VLT

M. Cirasuolo*, J. Afonso, R. Bender, P. Bonifacio, C. Evans, L. Kaper, E. Oliva, L. Vanzi, M. Abreu, E. Atad-Ettedgui, C. Babusiaux, F. Bauer, P. Best, N. Bezawada, I. Bryson, A. Cabral, K. Caputi, M. Centrone, F. Chemla, A. CimattiM-R. Cioni, G. Clementini, J. Coelho, E. Daddi, J. Dunlop, S. Feltzing, A. Ferguson, H. Flores, A. Fontana, J. Fynbo, B. Garilli, A. Glauser, I. Guinouard, F. Hammer, P. Hastings, A. Hess, R. Ivison, P. Jagourel, M. Jarvis, G. Kauffman, A. Lawrence, D. Lee, G. Licausi, S. Lilly, D. Lorenzetti, R. Maiolino, F. Mannucci, R. McLure, D. Minniti, D. Montgomery, B. Muschielok, K. Nandra, R. Navarro, P. Norberg, L. Origlia, N. Padilla, J. Peacock, F. Pedicini, L. Pentericci, J. Pragt, M. Puech, S. Randich, A. Renzini, N. Ryde, M. Rodrigues, F. Royer, R. Saglia, A. Sanchez, H. Schnetler, D. Sobral, R. Speziali, S. Todd, E. Tolstoy, M. Torres, L. Venema, F. Vitali, M. Wegner, M. Wells, V. Wild, G. Wright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

21 Citations (Scopus)


MOONS is a new conceptual design for a Multi-Object Optical and Near-infrared Spectrograph for the Very Large Telescope (VLT), selected by ESO for a Phase A study. The baseline design consists of similar to 1000 fibers deployable over a field of view of similar to 500 square arcmin, the largest patrol field offered by the Nasmyth focus at the VLT. The total wavelength coverage is 0.8 mu m-1.8 mu m and two resolution modes: medium resolution and high resolution. In the medium resolution mode (R similar to 4,000-6,000) the entire wavelength range 0.8 mu m-1.8 mu m is observed simultaneously, while the high resolution mode covers simultaneously three selected spectral regions: one around the Call triplet (at R similar to 8,000) to measure radial velocities, and two regions at R similar to 20,000 one in the J-band and one in the H-band, for detailed measurements of chemical abundances.

The grasp of the 8.2m Very Large Telescope (VLT) combined with the large multiplex and wavelength coverage of MOONS - extending into the near-IR - will provide the observational power necessary to study galaxy formation and evolution over the entire history of the Universe, from our Milky Way, through the redshift desert and up to the epoch of re-ionization at z>8-9. At the same time, the high spectral resolution mode will allow astronomers to study chemical abundances of stars in our Galaxy, in particular in the highly obscured regions of the Bulge, and provide the necessary follow-up of the Gaia mission. Such characteristics and versatility make MOONS the long-awaited workhorse near-IR MOS for the VLT, which will perfectly complement optical spectroscopy performed by FLAMES and VIMOS.

Original languageEnglish
EditorsIS McLean, SK Ramsay, H Takami
Place of PublicationBELLINGHAM
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-0-8194-9147-3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventConference on Ground-Based and Airborne Telescopes IV - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 1 Jul 20126 Jul 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceConference on Ground-Based and Airborne Telescopes IV


  • instrumentation: VLT spectrograph - galaxies: evolution
  • stellar content


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