GEPI

From instrumental design
to scientific exploitation

OPTIMOS/EVE

The OPTIMOS/EVE project is also a multi-object spectrograph, but one for the visible domain which does not require adaptive optics corrections. The goals of this instrument are the analysis of stellar populations in external galaxies, the study of the formation and evolution of the halos of galaxies as well as of the first sources of light in the Universe. It is in the hands of an international consortium including 5 countries (France, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Denmark). The EVE concept is based on fibre systems, and its Phase A started in October 2008 for a duration of 15 months. The GEPI is the Principal Investigator of the project and in charge of the science and system team of the project.

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Following a call for tenders for E-ELT instrumentation from ESO, GEPI has been selected for a phase A study of a multi-object (300 objects) fibre-fed spectrograph working in the UV, visible and near-infrared (310 nm – 1700 nm) at both low and high spectral resolution (5000 < R < 40 000). The principle is to use several sizes of fibre bundles (“small” covering 0.9”, “medium” covering about 2” by 3”, and “large” covering about 6” by 12”) which are placed on chosen scientific targets by a robotic positioner. This study is conducted by a consortium including several European laboratories (Italy/Brera, Netherlands/NOVA, Denmark/NBI, Germany/Potsdam and UK/RAL) on a 15 month period starting on the 7th of October 2008 (kick-off).

The know-how based on previous projects as GIRAFFE and X-SHOOTER has permitted to propose a low-risk simple concept adapted to the E-ELT specific environment. The immediate goal of the study is to address all the science cases. The scientific goals cover a large field of thematics, from exoplanets to the distant universe. Extensive progress is foreseen in the domain of stellar populations, in the characterisation of the evolution of galactic haloes, and in the detection of the first sources of light in the Universe.

The major stake for ESO is to provide, at these wavelengths, a high-performance spectroscopic instrument as soon as E-ELT delivers its first light.