ESO signs agreement for ANDES instrument on the ELT
05 Jun 2024



UK ATC will lead the design and construction of the near-infrared spectrograph on ANDES.




The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has signed an agreement with an international consortium of institutions, including the UK ATC, for the design and construction of ANDES (the ArmazoNes high Dispersion Echelle Spectrograph). Once completed ANDES will be installed on ESO's Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) in Chile. 

The agreement was signed by ESO's Director General Xavier Barcons and Roberto Ragazzoni, the President of Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), the institution leading the ANDES consortium. 

Formerly known as HIRES, ANDES is a powerful high-resolution spectrograph, dispersing the light of astronomical objects in impressive detail, allowing scientists to not only cover the wide domain of astrophysics but to also address some of the fundamental questions of physics. 

ANDES science goals include:

  • searching for signs of life signatures in the atmospheres of Earth-like exoplanets.
  • the search for the oldest stars in the Universe.
  • testing if the fundamental constants of physics vary with time and space.
  • directly measuring the acceleration of the Universe's expansion. 

UK ATC is a key part of the international consortium, that spans 13 countries, leading the design and construction of the near-infrared spectrograph. 

David Lunney, Project Manager on ANDES at UK ATC, said: “ANDES will provide us with a wide range of new data that will give us the capability to explore exoplanets and allow us to test our core scientific models of physics, so it's great to reach this stage in such an exciting astronomy project. This means we can now move onto the construction phase of the instrument, during which we will complete the instrument design, manufacture/procure all the parts required and then build and test the instrument before shipping to the ELT for installation and commissioning." 

Find out more.