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  • MUSE Alignment onto VLT

    Florence LAURENT



    MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) is a second generation Very Large Telescope (VLT) integral field spectrograph developed for the European Southern Observatory (ESO). It combines a 1’ x 1’ field of view sampled at 0.2 arcsec for its Wide Field Mode (WFM) and a 7.5“x7.5” field of view for its Narrow Field Mode (NFM). Both modes will operate with the improved spatial resolution provided by GALACSI (Ground Atmospheric Layer Adaptive Optics for Spectroscopic Imaging), that will use the VLT deformable secondary mirror and 4 Laser Guide Stars (LGS) foreseen in 2015. MUSE operates in the visible wavelength range (0.465-0.93 μm). A consortium of seven institutes is currently commissioning MUSE in the Very Large Telescope for the Preliminary Acceptance in Chile, scheduled for September, 2014.

    MUSE is composed of several subsystems which are under the responsibility of each institute. The Fore Optics derotates and anamorphoses the image at the focal plane. A Splitting and Relay Optics feed the 24 identical Integral Field Units (IFU), that are mounted within a large monolithic structure. Each IFU incorporates an image slicer, a fully refractive spectrograph with VPH-grating and a detector system connected to a global vacuum and cryogenic system. During 2012 and 2013, all MUSE subsystems were integrated, aligned and tested to the P.I. institute at Lyon. After successful PAE in September 2013, MUSE instrument was shipped to the Very Large Telescope in Chile where that was aligned and tested in ESO integration hall at Paranal. After, MUSE was directly transported, fully aligned and without any optomechanical dismounting, onto VLT telescope where the first light was overcame the 7th of February, 2014.

    This paper describes the alignment procedure of the whole MUSE instrument with respect to the Very Large Telescope (VLT). It describes how 6 tons could be move with accuracy better than 0.025mm and less than 0.25 arcmin in order to reach alignment requirements. The success of the MUSE alignment is demonstrated by the excellent results obtained onto MUSE image quality and throughput directly onto the sky.

    Keywords : Optical alignment, VLT, MUSE instrument

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