On Thursday June 2nd the EMIR spectrograph was successfully linked to the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC). After several days of trials following its arrival at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, on Wednesday it was moved to the base of the telescope and on Thursday morning it was maneuvered by crane up to the level of the side platforms of the GTC, and attached to the rotator where it will be in place to receive the light from the telescope.
The teamwork between the groups from EMIR and the GTC was critical for the correct performance of these manoeuvres, which were very complicated because of the weight of the instrument (5 tonnes) and its size (almost 3 metres in diameter), as well as the height through which it need hoisting (12 metres). In the coming days the teams will carry on with tests at room temperature, and will then cool the instrument down to its working temperature, and will make final adjustments with the instrument cooled, leaving it ready for “first light” which will probably take place on June 13th.
EMIR is an instrument designed, built, assembled and verified entirely in the IAC. It will obtain images and spectra in the near infrared, which will allow it to observe the coldest and most distant objects in the universe. To work in this wavelength range it needs cooling down to -200ºC, which is achieved by enclosing it completely in a cryogenic tank.
Media who are interested can take images of the work being carried out with EMIR next Monday, June 6th, between 10.00 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. To do this it will be necessary to receive accreditation, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related press release: http://www.iac.es/divulgacion.php?op1=16&id=1069&lang=en