OPTICON FP7 (2013-2016) WP10 - European Extremely Large Telescope Science and HTRA

WP leader: Isobel Hook (INAF) and HTRA aspects Andy Shearer (NUIG)

The European Extremely Large Telescope is a 40m-class telescope that will be the largest ground-based optical-infrared telescope in the World. OPTICON has a key role in connecting the project with the community of future users via community workshops focused on various aspects of the science case to inform the community of progress, obtaining input and preparing the community for the use of E-ELT.

Two first light instruments have been selected: a diffraction-limited infrared imaging camera (based on the MICADO concept) and an optical-IR integral field spectrograph (based on the HARMONI concept). A roadmap for the first generation instruments is now being developed, which will result in new instruments arriving at the telescope at the rate of one every two years. In addition, the roadmap will include a route for new instrumentation ideas. Instrumentation choices will therefore continue to be made in the next 10 years and indeed throughout the lifetime of the telescope. The scientific community needs to be informed and have input to these choices. We therefore will continue our role of community engagement in the E-ELT, coordinating with, but not duplicating, the E-ELT project office at ESO.

Opticon’s role will continue to focus on community preparation and scientific input to the project but with increased emphasis on new instrumentation concepts, in particular those emerging from other Opticon activities such as fast detectors, VPH gratings and astrophotonics. One such area, High-Time Resolution Astrophysics [HTRA], is a rapidly developing field of astronomy due to advances in detector technology and the availability of 8-10 metre class telescopes. In the ELT era HTRA science should come into its own – the available fluxes will be higher enabling observations on shorter timescales. As with any new observing paradigm this is likely to be associated with unexpected discoveries and new avenues for research. We shall continue the HTRA activity albeit with our main emphasis emphasis on the E-ELT.

For more information visit the ESO E-ELT meetings page and the EELT Science Case documents page.