HARMONI contract signing22 Sep 2015
Today we are celebrating the official signing of the contract for the HARMONI spectrograph, one of the first-light instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope, led by Prof. Niranjan Thatte in the Oxford instrumentation group and our friends at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh. I've been part of the team for the past 2 years, working on simulations of how the instrument will perform in the study of galaxies at high redshift.
It's taken a while for the instrument projects to gather momentum, while ESO worked on getting the green light for the construction of the telescope from its Council. Given the global economic climate of the last 5 years, it's been tough to get financial commitments for such a big project, and all 3 major ELT projects (the US-based Giant Magellan Telescope and Thirty Meter Telescope projects alongside the E-ELT) have been facing some flavour of this issue. So it's very exciting that we can finally take this big leap from design study to real instrument.
There's a long and challenging road ahead, and festive occasions are few and far between in a 10-year project. We'll be enjoying this one!