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 AAO for use on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT). Credit: ESO/F. Kamphues.
Sufyan Baker, AAO-MQ Mechanical Technician, working on AESOP. Credit: AAO-MQ.

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

  • AAO-Macquarie (Macquarie University, formed in large part from the previous Australian Astronomical Observatory instrumentation group).
  • AAO-Stromlo (the optical instrumentation portion of ANU’s Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre).
  • AAO-USydney (University of Sydney optical astronomical instrumentation group).
  • AAL (providing an effective and efficient oversight for the spending of NCRIS funds, and highlighting the priorities of the Australian astronomical community).

The AAO 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)
  • GMTIFS (Giant Magellan Telescope Integral-Field Spectrograph)
  • MANIFEST (the Starbug fibre-positioning facility)