In Greek mythology, Metis was the spouse of Zeus and mother of Athena, goddess of wisdom. METIS is also the planned mid-infrared imager and spectrograph for the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), Europe’s next-generation ground-based telescope for optical and infrared (IR) wavelengths. Covering the L, M and N bands, METIS will offer imaging, coronagraphy and medium-resolution spectroscopy over the full wavelength range (3-13 microns), and high-resolution integral field spectroscopy in L and M bands (3-5 microns).
The Mid-Infrared ELT Imager and Spectrograph
Extremely Large Telescope
METIS is one of the three first instruments for the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), and the only instrument to cover wavelengths beyond 3 microns. The phase-A conceptual study, which ran from May 2008 to December 2009 and led to the unique instrument concept, has been followed by a series of technology development projects. The Agreement for the design and construction of METIS with ESO was signed on 28 September 2015. METIS conducted its Preliminary Design Review (PDR) in May 2019 and is now well on its way for Final Design Review (FDR).
The METIS team
METIS is a collaboration of nine European astronomy organisations, each represented by one co-Investigator. The consortium currently consists of 158 members.
The instrument consists of two separate units, one for the imager and another for the spectrograph. It is – together with the AO wavefront sensor and the fore-optics – entirely encased in a cryostat to maintain the stable low temperatures required for good performance at mid-infrared wavelengths.
Investigating the physical structure and evolution of protoplanetary disks as well as the chemical composition of planet-forming material.
Image credits for this page:
First section: ELT concept by ESO/L. Calçada; METIS fireworks animation produced by Dušan Bettonvil.
Second section: Artist’s impression of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system by ESO/N. Bartmann/spaceengine.org
Second section: ESO signs largest ever ground-based astronomy contract for E-ELT dome and telescope structure by ESO/L. Calçada/ACe Consortium