ESO Signs Agreement for Australian–European MAVIS Instrument

Tuesday 1 June 2021, ESO signed an agreement with an international consortium to build and operate MAVIS, a unique instrument to be installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) that will provide images up to three times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope. MAVIS will tackle a range of research questions, from how the first stars formed 13 billion years ago to how weather changes on the planets and moons of the Solar System.

“MAVIS will be a powerful instrument that will serve a very large number of key science projects,” explains François Rigaut, Director of the Astralis-AITC node, who is leading the consortium for MAVIS. “This will include observations of our own Solar System as well as planets around other stars, and the physics of star formation, from the Milky Way to the first star clusters in the Universe.”

The MAVIS consortium is led by the Astralis Instrumentation Consortium (previously known as Australian Astronomical Optics, AAO), with the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) in Italy being a major partner; the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique (LAM) in France and ESO are also part of the consortium. MAVIS is being designed by two Australian institutes in the Astralis Instrumentation Consortium — the Australian National University and Macquarie University — representing a significant milestone for ESO’s growing relationship with Australia.