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In the same section :
Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory (English version)
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Laboratoire d’Astrophysique Universitaire de Nice (version française)
Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur (version française)
Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (version française)

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Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (English version)
Saturday 3 April 2004, by Christian Perrier


http://www-laog.obs.ujf-grenoble.fr

LAOG, part of the Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers de Grenoble, is a research laboratory of CNRS and the J. Fourier University. It is located on the Grenoble universities Saint-Martin d’Hères campus and hosts 80 persons.

Initially aimed at supporting the starting IRAM radio-submillimetric observations, while there was yet no astrophysics in Grenoble, its research areas became more diversified along with its continued growth, and, nowadays they include:
- physical processes at work behind formation of stars, brown dwarves and planets and their evolution,
- physical processus at work behind emission at very high energy of stellar or extra-galactic compact objects,
- technological research for astronomical instrumentation, especially in the field of high angular resolution.

The induced activities are three-fold:

  • construction of instruments dedicated to observation and installed on very large telescopes,
  • observation in gamma rays to radio waves, with all necessary ground or space telescopes, and the analysis of the produced data,
  • the development of physical theories explaining the observed properties.

In addition, it must be emphasized that modelisations and simulations make use of very powerful computing facilities, either offered by Grenoble Observatory or by national computing centers, and that LAOG, together with local physics laboratories and industrial companies, has research and development activities aiming at highly performant technologies for data acquisition and processing.

LAOG is largely involved in education through various university courses, especially as the main support of the Grenoble Master second year (formely "DEA") in Astrophysics and as a site providing support for PhD thesis work. It also participates in various non-academic public-oriented educational activities.

The astrophysical topics more specifically under study at LAOG are:
- cold gas clouds forming the instellar medium, and the physical and chimical conditions inside them,
- the condensations occurring in these clouds, at the origin of the formation of stars and brown dwarfs,
- the young stars and their gas and dust disks,
- the extra-solar planets and planetary systems that are born inside these disks,
- the violent events occurring in the close environment of young stars,
- those occurring in microquasars and very high energy sources,
- observational cosmology,
- history of Astronomy.

The instrumental and technological developments are presently:
- adaptive optics, specially deformable mirrors,
- interferometry, specially integrated optics components,
- low noise detectors for visible and near-infrared light,
- interferometric data reduction, through an expertise center (Jean-Marie Mariotti Center - JMMC) shared with other French laboratories.

LAOG contributed or contributes to the construction of the NAOS and AMBER instruments for the ESO VLT, to WIRCAM for the CHFT, to the exploitation or preparation of spatial projects such as XMM, HERSCHEL or PLANCK.

History of the laboratory

  • 1979 Foundation of Groupe d’Astrophysique de Grenoble
  • 1990 Change into Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Grenoble
  • 1995 Start of pre-study of the VLT NAOS adaptive optics system (with ONERA and OPM)
  • 1996 Delivery of the GraF spectro-imager for the ESO adaptive optics.
  • 1996 Start of concept study of AMBER
  • 2001 Start of the WIRCAM project for the CFHT (with UH, Montreal, Corea and Taiwan)
  • 2001 Delivery of a planar integrated optics beam combiner to IOTA (AZ, USA) (with IMEP and LETI)
  • 2001 Foundation of the Mariotti Center (with OCA and 9 other institutes)
  • 2001 Delivery of NAOS to ESO
  • 2002 Succesfull tests of planar integrated optics with the VLTI using two UTs.

Contact

Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de l'Observatoire de Grenoble
BP 53, F-38041 Grenoble cedex, France      
Tel. +33 4 76 51 47 88
Fax. +33 4 76 44 88 21
Web site: http://www-laog.obs.ujf-grenoble.fr

Involvement of LAOG in the AMBER project

LAOG has resources and qualified personel dedicated to study, build and test large instrumental projects, that have already been used for the VLT NAOS adaptive optics system. In particular, AMBER made use of the integration means including an integration hall, a dust-free room and other support facilities in the fields of vacuum, cryogeny, mecanics, electronics and optics.

For AMBER, LAOG was in charge of the key-functions of "Project Scientist", "Project Manager" or "deputy-Project Manager" and "Integration Coordinator". The AMBER team at LAOG, composed of between 15 and 20 persons, was in charge of the system software, the observation and data processing software, the sub-systems acceptance, the global instrument integration and the overall tests in Europe. Some of them were also involved in the instrument concept study, in the interface design, in the design and coding of the control software, as well as present in the phase of integration, alignment and tests on the VLTI in Paranal.

LAOG will take advantage of AMBER capability for key objectives of its astrophysical groups:
- detection of extra-solar hot Jupiter-like planets,
- study of young stars and their disks,
- study of active galactic nuclei.





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