Revolutionizing space observation

Meet Pr. François Rigaut, researcher at the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Specialised in adaptive optics, François is currently developing MAVIS, a new instrument that will greatly improve images of Space.

Written by Sacreblue!

10 Aug 2021

2 min read

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The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a major astronomy observatory supported by 17 countries, including France. Located in the Southern hemisphere in Chile, ESO is home to the world’s most powerful astronomical telescope. It is on this telescope that MAVIS 1 will be installed, an instrument being developed as an ambitious project led by Pr. François Rigaut. Assembled in Australia, MAVIS will remove the effects of turbulence induced by the atmospher 2, which reduces the accuracy of images of Space taken from Earth.

After a PhD in adaptive optics in Paris, François first worked in Hawaii, then in Chile and Germany, before moving to Canberra. His experiences in multiple countries have enabled him to lead the international team in charge of the development of MAVIS. This scientific cooperation involves the Australian National University (ANU), the University of Macquarie in Sydney, the Astrophysics Laboratory of Marseille in France, and the National Institute of Astrophysics in Italy.

His advice for young researchers wishing to join the Australian Space ecosystem? Don’t be shy! European students are very welcome in Australia, so reach out and embark on the adventure!

1 MAVIS : Multi-conjugate-adaptive-optics Assisted Visible Imager and Spectrograph
2 Meet Pr. Céline d’Orgeville, a committed researcher at the Mont Stromlo Observatory
François Rigaut, a professor at the Australian National University, has authored over 300 papers in astronomical Adaptive Optics (AO) and instrumentation. He has 30 years of experience in AO systems, from COME-ON, the first system for astronomy to being the lead scientist for GeMS, the first astronomical Laser Guide Star Multi-Conjugate AO system. He has worked in France, Germany, Hawaii, Chile and he is now in Australia since 2012. Rigaut is currently the principal investigator of MAVIS, a visible multi-conjugate adaptive optics system for the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope, involving a consortium of institutes in Italy, France and Australia.

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