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A Revolutionary Tool Resulting from Research in Nice
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A Revolutionary Tool Resulting from Research in Nice

The Nice Côte d'Azur Observatory is sending to Chile "Matisse," a massive optical tool (the most powerful in the world) to improve our understanding of the Earth’s history and the formation of rocky planets.
Born in Nice, "MATISSE" is an instrument which will be able to combine images from the 4 telescopes of the Very Large Telescope located in the desert of Chile.

MATISSE has been patiently constructed in a basement of the Nice Observatory by an international consortium over the last decade: 5 years to design the instrument and 5 years to develop, assemble and test its different elements (infrared detectors, cryostats, optical block made up specifically of 200 small motor-controlled mirrors …).

MATISSE (Multi AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment) will be transported at the start of October, 2017, to the Atacama Desert in Chile, to be installed in the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Its mission will be to observe the "protoplanetary" discs of gas and dust which surround young stars and which are "the building blocks " at the origin of the formation of planets.

Eight to ten months of performance validation in the field will then be required to prepare the instrument for researchers.

The instrument will enable observation of the sky at a level of detail unequalled in the middle infrared range (wavelengths of 3 - 13 microns).