Prof. Jochen Liske of the Hamburger Sternwarte has been awarded 500.000 Euro by the German funding agency Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to equip the new 4MOST instrument with an additional low-resolution spectrograph. 4MOST is a new wide-field spectroscopic survey facility under development for the 4-m-class VISTA telescope at Paranal Observatory in Chile. It will be the largest facility of its kind in the Southern hemisphere and address today's most pressing astronomical questions in the fields of Galactic archaeology, high-energy astrophysics, galaxy evolution and cosmology. 4MOST is currently under construction by an international consortium of 15 institutes, of which the Hamburger Sternwarte is a leading member.

The design of 4MOST will allow astronomers to collect spectra of tens of millions of stars and galaxies, spread over the whole Southern sky, in just a few years. Crucially though, this massive multiplexing capability can only be achieved by equipping 4MOST with multiple spectrographs. The new award will be used to fund one of two low-resolution spectrographs, enabling 4MOST to reach full performance.

Starting in 2022, Prof. Liske and a team of about 50 astronomers will use 4MOST to conduct a survey of 1.7 million galaxies in order to study the properties of Dark Matter and the evolution of galaxies.

 

vista

 

This spectacular view of the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) was taken from the roof of the building during the opening of the enclosure at sunset.

The VLT is visible on the neighbouring mountain. VISTA is the largest survey telescope in the world. Its primary mirror is 4.1 m in diameter and is the most highly curved of its size. The extremely high curvature reduces the focal length, making the structure of the telescope extremely compact. VISTA can survey large areas of the sky quickly and deeply.