InfraRed Array Camera

The InfraRed Array Camera (IRAC) was ESO’s first infrared imager offered as common user instrument. IRAC was installed on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at La Silla Observatory and the camera saw first light in 1988.

IRAC was a versatile instrument for astronomers. Many different celestial objects emit in infrared wavelengths and, as a general use infrared instrument, the IRAC system was used for many different observations. This includes the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter (eso9402) and gravitationally lensed quasars (eso9719).

In 1992, the IRAC system was upgraded to IRAC2. The system included an array 18 times larger than the original as well as more available filters. IRAC2 was decommissioned in July 1998, ten years after IRAC saw first light.


The authoritative technical specifications as offered for astronomical observations are available from the Science Operation page.

Site: La Silla Observatory
Telescope: MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
Type: Infrared Imager
Wavelength coverage:

1250 – 4700 nm (IRAC)
1250 – 2365 nm (IRAC2)

Spatial resolution:
Spectral resolution:
First light date:

July 1988 (IRAC)
30 May 1992 (IRAC2)

Science gola:

General infrared observations

Images taken with the instrument: Link
Images of the instrument: Link
Press Releases with the instrument: Link