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CNRS Images, in partnership with #eso, has produced a documentary about MUSE, the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer. Directed by Christophe Gombert and Claude Delhaye, MUSE, The Cosmic Time Machine takes a detailed look at one of the latest — and in fact, the biggest — second-generation instruments installed on Yepun (UT4), the fourth Unit Telescope of ESO’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile.
The 35-minute documentary explores the inspiration and the story behind MUSE, why it was needed, and how it came into life over a nine year development phase. It highlights the international European cooperation necessary to realise the project, as well as the participation of many of the hundreds of researchers, technicians and engineers involved. The innovative technology of MUSE and the front-line science performed with it are also discussed, braided with a gripping storyline of the delicate installation process leading up to the moment of first light of the instrument.
MUSE, a novel state-of-the-art integral field spectrograph, is one of the most ambitious astronomical projects of our time. It saw first light in January 2014 (eso1407) and uses 24 3D spectrographs, obtaining spectra over wide areas of the sky and at a large range of wavelengths, from blue to infrared. Each of the 24 data “cubes” produced by MUSE in one observation is so rich in information that researchers need many months to fully analyse its contents and publish the results.
With instruments like MUSE, employing cutting-edge technology, #eso remains at the forefront of astronomical research. Since MUSE’s conception, astronomers have been able to study the Universe in more detail than ever before. In fact, there is no instrument currently available that is better suited to observing the faintest galaxies in the very distant Universe, and it will undoubtedly produce results of outstanding quality in the next decades.
The film project was led by Roland Bacon, Principal Investigator of the MUSE project, and premiered in France on 9 March 2017 at the Musée des Confluences. Now, the movie is released under a Creative Commons NoDerivatives license through ESO's video archive.
© Copyright 2017