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Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad Gobierno de Canarias Universidad de La Laguna CSIC Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa
December 20, 2014
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Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias


Technological Development Projects

Infrared instrumentation

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(Mid-resolution InfRAreD Astronomical Spectrograph) The infrared spectrograph of intermediate resolution, MIRADAS, will operate in the 1 to 2.5 micron infrared band with a spectral resolution of 20.000. During 2010, MIRADAS was selected as the infrared spectrograph for the new generation of instruments for the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), and presently it is under development by and International consortium.

Project website

MIRADAS is a multi-object spectrograph able to observe until 20 objects simultaneously thanks to its 20 articulated arms with a small mirror attached. Each arm can patrol a sector inside a 5 arcmin circle in the GTC focal plane.

Its main parameters are:

Target field of regard5 arcminute diameter20 arms. Each arm patrols a “slice of pie” wedge of this circular field
Individual target field of view3.7 x 1.2 arc seconds 
Slit slicer geometry3 slices of 3.7x0.4 arcseconds 
Detector4096 x 2048 pixelsMosaico of two HAWAII-2RG 2Kx2K
SpectropolarimetryLinear, circularCross-dispersion mode for one object
Continuum sensitivity

J=18.9 mag

H=17.4 mag

K=16.7 mag

S/N=10 for 1 hour on-source exposure
Emission line sensitivity

5x10-18 ergs/cm2/s (point)

8x10-18 ergs/cm2/s (resolved)

S/N=10 for 1 hour on-source exposure

Resolved source assumes 1 square arcsecond detect cell

In 2012 the main part of the preliminar design has been carried out by the different institutions of the consortium and the scientific program driving the instrument was prepared. Also two articulated arm prototypes to hold the selection optics were build, as they were identified, since the beginning, as the components with the highest risks of the technical proposal. These prototypes were successfully tested at ambient and at cryogenic temperatures, validating different design and mounting trade-offs as well as allowing the debug of the algorithms controlling the movement.

Apart from the scientific matters, the IAC contribution is focused in the development of the instrument control system, where other institutions are also participating.

MIRADAS follows the GTC control system standards, assuring a total integration with the telescope. The control system is based in a distributed architecture, according to the component model of GTC, developed in C++ and running in different computers by means of the CORBA middleware.

The control system has 6 components:

-Mechanisms control system

-Data acquisition system

-High level control (Instrument layer)

-Data reduction pipeline

-Exposure time calculator

-Data factory agent

In November 2012 the project had the preliminary design review meeting.

The consortium is lead by the University of Florida (USA) with the participation of Universidad de Barcelona (UB), Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), Institut de Física d’Altes Energies (IFAE) and Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC, as technical support to UB). Additionally, several individual researchers from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) are also participating.

Principal Investigator: Francisco Garzón


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