MIRADAS Latest news




icon June 2022
Subject: MIRADAS Installed af FCass E

MIRADAS has been received at GTC in June 2022, to be installed at Folded Cassegrain E focal station once first on floor test and internal optical aligment checkout are completed successfully.


MIRADAS arrival at GTC in June 2022 and some pictures of the different integration works done at GTC Lab and Folded Cass E focal station.

After testing the mechanisms of MIRADAS, a technical first light was obtained by configuring the single object observing mode of the instrument. The complete commissioning of MIRADAS is scheduled for the coming months, once the full testing of the MXS mode is finished.


MIRADAS technical first light at GTC with the MIRADAS instrument team and GTC staff involved, at GTC Control Room.

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icon July 2021
Subject: MIRADAS Laboratory First Light

MIRADAS, the next-generation near-infrared multi-object spectrograph for the GTC, which is being developed by a consortium led by the University of Florida, has obtained its Laboratory First Light on July 7th 2021 in Gainesville. While the instrument is not yet in its final configuration and there is work ahead, it is an important accomplishment and milestone for the project, as the instrument prepares for its shipment to La Palma within the next few months, when it will be integrated and commissioned at the GTC, in collaboration with GRANTECAN staff.

This first light happened coinciding and despite the passage of the tropical storm Elsa, and is the result of years of hard work from an international team of engineers and scientists to make MIRADAS a reality. Professor Steve Eikenberry, the principal investigator of MIRADAS, highlighted the importance of this achievement: "Our team here at the University of Florida, along with our collaborators at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias and the University of Barcelona, are very pleased to have reached this important milestone of the first full system cooldown of MIRADAS. While we still have a number of tasks ahead of us, the system performance so far is excellent, and we look forward to bringing MIRADAS to the GTC soon!"


Laboratory First Light spectrum of MIRADAS, using a 1064nm laser.

Even though, this first image was saturated (the calibration light source was too bright), it demonstrated that all the different subsystems were working correctly and were ready for further adjustments and tests. Some other images are shown below:


Non-saturated image of an Argon lamp line through the optical fiber (Left) and the extracted 1D spectrum showing the different emission lines produced by the arc lamp (Right).


Echellogram using the cross-dispersion grating (for the highest spectral resolution and coverage) of a continuum source.

MIRADAS has been co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), within the framework of the "Programa Operativo FEDER CANARIAS 2014-2020", project "Ampliación del equipamiento del Gran Telescopio de Canarias, Fase 2" and within the framework "Programa Operativo Plurirregional de España 2014-2020", project "Mejora de la ICTS Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (2016-2020)".

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icon November 2011
Subject: Kick-off for the MIRADAS instrument

Recently a contract was signed between GRANTECAN and the University of Florida on the design of a new instrument for the GTC. The instrument, MIRADAS, will be a multi-object near-IR spectrograph reaching a spectral resolution of 20000. It is conceived as a common-user instrument that will be located in the folded-Cassegrain focal station.

MIRADAS will be one of the third-generation instruments for the telescope and is led by Prof. Stephen Eikenberry from the University of Florida (USA), in collaboration with Universidad de Barcelona, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), Institut de Física d'Altes Energies (IFAE), Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), and Instituto de Astronomía de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). The science team behind the instrument comprises a large number of scientists from 8 institutions within the GTC community.

The capability of MIRADAS to work at infrared wavelengths where obscuration by gas and dust between the stars is less of a problem, its multiplexing capability of observing several objects at the same time, and the high spectral resolution that can be reached make the instrument extremely attractive to tackle a wide range of scientific questions. All this, combined with the massive light-gathering power of the GTC provides us with a recipe to achieve very exciting scientific goals that will expand our knowledge in several key areas of astrophysics.

Examples of such key areas are the detailed study of massive stars in our galaxy that will help us understand galactic structure and the chemical history of our Milky Way. MIRADAS will also have an important impact for galaxies in our cosmic neighborhood, such as for instance in the study of massive black holes that lurk at the centers of many of these galaxies, and of the dynamical behavior of galaxies. The instrument also contemplates polarimetric measurements which open up a unique window in areas such as the study of cirmumstellar disks, planet formation, and even the possibility of mapping the surface structures of cool stars.

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Last modified: 23 June 2023

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