The Cooled Grating Spectrometer 4 (CGS4) was designed and built at the ROE, and was commissioned on UKIRT in 1992. It was highly a successful instrument. It obtained infrared spectra for an extraordinarily wide range of astronomical projects, from measuring the physical and chemical properties of asteroid sruface and of the gas and dust between the star to investigating the nature of the most distance galaxeis and supernovae. Most of its functions were replaced by UIST which was commissioned on UKIRT in autumn 2002.


GCAL is the calibration unit for each of the Gemini telescopes. Calibration is an unglamorous but vital aspect of observational astronomy. Without good calibration observational data is almost useless as it is impossible to extract accurate numerical values to test theory.

GMOS South

The Gemini Multi-Object Spectrographs (GMOS) are twin instruments that have been supplied to both Gemini telescopes. It is a versatile instrument for optical spectroscopy.

GPOL North

GPol, Gemini Polarization Units, are facilities that make polarimetric observations possible on both Gemini telescopes. They operate over the optical-infrared wavelength range from 0.3 to 5 microns. Detecting the polarisation of light from astronomical objects provides information about local magnetic fields, or the location of objects such as newly born stars that are shrouded in clouds of gas and dust.


HARP, the Heterodyne Array Receiver Programme, is a spectrometer for the JCMT which will enable astronomers to study the spectra of objects visible at submillimetre wavelengths. This will give them an insight into the chemistry and physics inside clouds of interstellar gas and dust.


The first IRCAM (Infra Red Camera) was commissioned on UKIRT in 1986. Designed and built at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh it was one of the first cameras in the world to use the then new 62x58 pixel indium antimonide infrared detector arrays. IRCAM operated in the 1-5 micrometre region of the electromagnetic spectrum. In 1992 IRCAM was replaced by UIST.


KMOS is a near-infrared multi-object integral-field spectrometer for one of the ESO Very Large Telescopes. This second-generation instrument will be an invaluable tool to investigate the physical and environmental processes which shape the formation and evolution of galaxies over cosmic time.


Michelle is a mid-infrared spectrometer and imager for use on both the UKIRT and Gemini North telescopes at the thermal infrared wavelengths between 8 and 25 microns. Michelle was commissioned on UKIRT in summer 2001, and was moved to Gemini North for use in early 2003.


MIRI (Mid InfraRed Instrument) is an infrared camera and spectrometer for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). It will operate between wavelengths of 5 to 27 microns, a region which is difficult or impossible to observe from the ground. JWST is due for launch in 2014.


SCUBA, the Submillimetre Common-User Bolometer Array, was designed and constructed at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh in collaboration with Queen Mary, University of London. It was delivered to the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii in 1996 and was fully operational by 1997.

SCUBA-2 in the lab

SCUBA-2 seeks to capitalise on the success of SCUBA by providing the JCMT community with a state-of-the-art, wide-field camera giving unprecedented sensitivity and imaging power. With a much larger field-of-view and sky-background limited sensitivity, SCUBA-2 will map large areas of sky up to 1000 times faster than previously possible. All areas of astronomy will benefit, from studies of our Solar System and surveys of protostellar complexes in the Milky Way, to answering key questions about the formation and evolution of galaxies in the early Universe.

SCUBA-2 being lifted into the dome

SCUBA-2 was delivered to the JCMT in 2008.

Beam steering mirror for SPIRE

The UK ATC is part of a consortium of 15 institutes in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden and the USA which was formed to build SPIRE, the Spectral and Photometric Imaging REceiver instrument for the Herschel Space Observatory. Herschel was launched in May 2009. This is the beam steering mechanism which was built at the UK ATC.


The UKIRT Imaging SpecTrometer (UIST) operates in the near infrared wavelength region between 1 and 5 microns, with a 1024 x 1024 pixel detector array. It can be used for imaging, long slit spectroscopy, integral field spectroscopy, and polarimetry. These multiple capabilities allow it to replace almost all the existing instrumentation on UKIRT.


Ultracam is an ultra-fast, triple-beam CCD camera which has been designed to study one of the rarely explored parts of observational parameter space - high temporal resolution. The camera was successfully commissioned on the WHT on 16 May 2002, over 3 months ahead of schedule and will be used on 2m, 4m and 8m class telescopes in Australia, the Canary Islands, Chile, Greece, South Africa and Spain to study astrophysics on the fastest time-scales.


WFCAM, the Wide Field Infrared Camera, was delivered to UKIRT in July 2004. WFCAM is an ambitious instrument that consists not only of a cryogenic camera holding four state-of-the-art detectors, associated electronics and computing, but also a large optical system for the UKIRT telescope including a new f/9 secondary mirror and a complete auto-guiding system.