MICADO – the 1st Light Camera for deep observations with the 39-m 'Extremely Large Telescope' (ELT) of ESO

MICADO is one of the two First-Light Instruments that will switch the ELT into operation. With its two observing modes of imaging and spectroscopy it enables for the first time the analysis of stellar light that will be gathered with the 39m large aperture of the ELT.

MICADO First-Light Camera concept study

Fig.1: The MICADO camera installation at the Nasmyth focus of the ELT. It renders the design of the instrument before its realisation into hardware with the multiple Adaptive-Optics table at the right and the camera installation at the left. The Serrurier-like support of the instrument is one of the IAG subsystems which mount the instrument to the telescope and allows tracking during observation.

Key Parameters of the MICADO Camera



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RequirementSpecificationRemark
Wavelength coverage0.8 - 2.4 µm
Imaging system3-Mirror-Anastigm.(TMA)each at collimator and camera optics
Field of View50 arcsecenables study of resolved stellar populations and of high-redshift galaxies
Imaging quality70% Strehl in K-Band
Detectors9x H4RG (4Kx4K)Large format NIR detectors in 3x3 Mosaic
Spatial Sampling4 milli-arcsec [mas]
High-Res. Mode1.5 milli-arcsec [mas]spatial sampling increased by zoom optics
Distortion< 1.9%extreme temporal stability due to astrometry rerquirements
Astrometric accuracy50 micro-arcsec [µas]relative accuracy across the FoV in single exposure
Spectro.ResolutionR ~20 000
Photometric accuracy0.03 [mag]limited by PSF fitting
Transmiss. Efficiency50 % - 68 %depends on AO performance & thermal background
System troughput30 % - 44 %incl. all 5 telescope- and the AO-mirrors
Filters2x 18 FiltersPermanent available
Mass-budget17 metric tonnesTotal installation
`First-Light´2025


Simulated view of a high-z galaxy as it would appear in MICADO (left) and for James-Webb-Space-Telescope (right).

Fig.2: Simulated view of a high-z galaxy as it would appear in MICADO (left) and for James-Webb-Space-Telescope (right).

omparative view of observations and simulations of a crowded field, the center of the globular cluster Omega-Cen; upper row today's observations with VLT
Comparative view of observations and simulations of a crowded field, the center of the globular cluster Omega-Cen; simulated view of James-Webb-Space-Telescope and MICADO at the E-ELT.

Fig.3: Comparative view of observations and simulations of a crowded field, the center of the globular cluster Omega-Cen; upper row today's observations with VLT, lower row simulated view of James-Webb-Space-Telescope and MICADO at the E-ELT.


Key Publications

[1] Davies, R. et al., ”The MICADO first light imager for the ELT: overview, operation, simulation”, SPIE Vol. 10702 (2018)

[2] Pott, J.-U. et al., "The MICADO first light imager for ELT: its astrometric performance", SPIE Vol. 10702 (2018)

[3] Clenet, Y. et al., “MICADO-MAORY SCAO: towards the preliminary design review", SPIE Vol. 10703 (2018)

[4] Nicklas, H. et al., “The MICADO first light imager for ELT: From hexapod to octopod instrument support structure”, SPIE Vol. 10702 (2018)