Astralis Instrumentation Consortium (Astralis) – formerly Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO) – is a dedicated, national optical astronomy instrumentation capability, formed by three Australian universities with the support of AAL.

MAVIS, the MCAO Assisted Visible Imager and Spectrograph, is an adaptive optics (AO) instrument that is currently being designed by Astralis for use on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT). Credit: ESO/F. Kamphues.
Sufyan Baker, Astralis-AAO Mechanical Technician, working on AESOP. Credit: Astralis-AAO.

Encompassing the existing instrumentation capabilities of the previous Australian Astronomical Observatory, Astralis comprises the following parties: 

  • Astralis-AAO (Macquarie University partners through the AAO Department within the Faculty of Science and Engineering).
  • Astralis-AITC (The Australian National University partners through its Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre (AITC) within the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics).
  • Astralis-USyd (The University of Sydney partners through elements of the Sydney Astrophotonic Instrumentation Laboratory (SAIL) within the School of Physics).
  • AAL (providing an effective and efficient oversight for the spending of NCRIS funds, and highlighting the priorities of the Australian astronomical community).

The Consortium was formed in 2017, and is currently working on several major instrumentation projects for international telescopes and facilities, including ESO and the future GMT:

  • MAVIS (MCAO Assisted Visible Imager and Spectrograph)
  • AESOP (the Fibre Positioner subsystem for the 4MOST instrument)
  • MANIFEST (the Starbug fibre-positioning facility)