Agreement Signed to Build 4MOST

Next-generation spectrograph will enhance VISTA’s capabilities

23 août 2016

ESO has signed an agreement with a consortium led by the Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP) [1] to build 4MOST, a unique, next-generation spectroscopic instrument which will be mounted on the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile.

The agreement was signed in Potsdam, by ESO Director General Tim de Zeeuw, and by Matthias Steinmetz and Matthias Winker on behalf of AIP. HE Johanna Wanka, German Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Martina Münch, State Minister of Science, Research and Culture for the Land of Brandenburg, were present at the signing.

4MOST, the 4-metre Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope, will be installed on the VISTA telescope in the position occupied by the VISTA Infrared Camera, the current workhorse instrument on VISTA, where it will provide the telescope with unique new capabilities. The instrument is expected to begin operation in 2022, when it will begin to shed light on some of today’s most pressing astronomical questions, contributing to studies of the dynamics and chemical evolution of the Milky Way, measuring large numbers of active galaxies and galaxy clusters, and helping to constrain models of the accelerating Universe [2].

Observing over the full visible light wavelength regime, not only will 4MOST answer many outstanding astronomical questions, but it is specifically designed to complement three all­-sky, space­-based ob­servatories of key European interest — Gaia, EUCLID, and eROSITA. It will additionally provide a spectroscopic complement to many other large-area surveys, including, VST, Pan-STARRS, the Dark Energy Survey, LSST, ASKAP, WISE, and PLATO.


[1] The 4MOST consortium consists of the following: Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP — lead institute); Australian Astronomical Observatory; Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon; ESO; Institute of Astronomy - Cambridge; Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik; Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg; Max-Planck Institut für Astronomie; and Nederlandse Onderzoekschool Voor Astronomie; together with pure science-support institutes: Uppsala universitet; Universität Hamburg; École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne; and Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

[2] 4MOST will allow astronomers to study the spectral light distribution from approximately 2400 objects simultaneously over a field of view of four square degrees — an area equivalent to 20 full Moons. 4MOST will spend the majority of its time performing spectroscopic surveys of the southern sky, collecting 25 million spectra every five years from an area of over 17 000 square degrees — more than 40% of the entire sky. During its planned fifteen-year lifetime it is therefore expected to provide the astronomical community with an unprecedented 75 million spectra.

More Information

In 2010, ESO invited the astronomical community to suggest ideas for the design of a wide-field spectrograph. Two concepts were selected to proceed to the design and construction phase: 4MOST, and MOONS (the Multi-Object Optical and Near-infrared Spectrograph), scheduled for first light in 2018.



Roelof de Jong
Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), PI 4MOST
Potsdam, Germany
Tel: +49 331 7499 648
Fax +49 331 7499 267

Vincenzo Mainieri
ESO, 4MOST Project Scientist
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6881

Jean-Francois Pirard
ESO, 4MOST Project Manager & Project Engineer
Garching bei München, Germany

Richard Hook
ESO, Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
Cell: +49 151 1537 3591

À propos de l'annonce



Signature of the 4MOST agreement
Signature of the 4MOST agreement
Inside VISTA
Inside VISTA