NOVA is the alliance of the astronomical institutes in The Netherlands, comprising of the universities of Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden and Nijmegen. In order to explore the universe, more powerful telescopes and scientific instruments are being developed. The NOVA group at ASTRON in Dwingeloo is specialized in development of infrared opto-mechanical cryogenic systems.
The NOVA Optical Infrared Astronomical Instrumentation Group develops systems and subsystems for the most advanced telescopes in the world and in space. This includes all development stages: from generation of novel ideas and technologies, to the use of the latest standards in design and manufacturing, and ensuring top quality by rigorous integration and testing.
NOVA is a major supplier of scientific instruments for the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VTL), with instruments like: MATISSE, SPHERE, X-shooter, VISIR, SINFONI, MIDI. Instruments for the Isaac Newton Group (ING) at La Palma include: Wyffos, WEAVE and HARPS3. Telescope developments include: Meerlicht and the BlackGEM telescope array at ESO La Silla. We also develop space instrumentation, of which the most notably is the Mid InfraRed Instrument MIRI for the James Webb Space Telescope (NASA ESA JWST).
Our focus for the coming period is to develop instruments for the Extremely Large Telescope (ESO ELT). This includes the thermal infrared instrument METIS, a global collaboration where NOVA is the Primary Investigator institute. Other developments are: MICADO, MOSAIC and EPICS. With these instruments at the ELT, NOVA tries to solve the riddles of the universe: investigate the formation of stars and galaxies, determine properties of dark matter and dark energy, and characterize atmospheres of exoplanets.