Multi-conjugate Adaptive Optics RelaY for the E-ELT

MAORY is a new adaptive optics module for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) based on Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) — designed to help compensate for distortions caused by turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. MAORY is designed to work with the imaging camera MICADO and with a second future instrument. MICADO needs stable and sharp images across a large field of view in the near-infrared (wavelengths from 0.8–2.4µm) in order to allow scientists to make very precise measurements of the positions, brightness, and motions of stars. The adaptive optics provided by MAORY and the telescope helps it to achieve this.

MAORY will use at least two deformable mirrors (including the deformable mirror in the telescope) designed to correct for different layers of turbulence high above the telescope. It measures the light from a configuration of six sodium laser guide stars, arranged in a circle on the sky, to obtain a kind of three-dimensional mapping of the turbulence. The laser guide stars are projected from around the circumference of the telescope’s primary mirror. This technique was successfully demonstrated on-sky by the Multi conjugate Adaptive optics Demonstrator (MAD) on the Very Large Telescope.

Artist's impression of the location of the instruments. On the right MAORY is shown above MICADO on the Nasmyth platform of the E-ELT. METIS is shown to the left. Credit: NOVA/METIS/MAORY/MICADO/HARMONI


This table lists the global capabilities of the instrument. The authoritative technical specifications as offered for astronomical observations are available from the Science Operation page.

Site: Cerro Armazones
Telescope: European Extremely Large Telescope
Focus: Nasmyth
Type: Adaptive optics module
Wavelength coverage: 0.8–2.4 μm
Spatial resolution: N/A
Spectral resolution: N/A
First light date: 2024
Images taken with the instrument: Link
Images of the instrument: Link
Press Releases with the instrument: Link
Science goals: Adaptive Optics


Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)

Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG)

European Southern Observatory (ESO)