A hand luggage-sized camera system was developed to enable astronomers to capture high-contrast images of planets orbiting stars outside our solar system. The camera system, remarkable for its size, will help astronomers gather more information about exoplanets.
The new camera system is the size of “hand luggage”
The camera system called NIX stands out with its infrared and cryogenic capabilities. The camera, which stands out with its technical features, will enable images with the highest contrast value to date.
Developed at the UK Astronomical Technology Center (UK ATC), the Council of Science and Technology Facilities (STFC) in Scotland, NIX is now located in Germany where all the different parts of the Advanced Resolution Imager and Spectrograph (ERIS) are assembled. It is maintained by the Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE).
NIX can operate even at extremely cold temperatures around -328 degrees in order to reduce thermal radiation. In addition, the camera developed has anti-reflective coatings, different optical elements and mirrors to prevent glare from nearby stars of exoplanets.
Roughly the size of a hand luggage, the NIX stands out with its compact design, thanks to the design and configuration of all its components in an almost miniature case.
NIX, which will be put into use at the Paranal Observatory in Chile as part of the “Very Large Telescope” of the European Southern Observatory, one of the most advanced optical telescopes in the world, will start working actively in 2022.