SPIE 8445, Amsterdam 2012
B. Lopez, S. Lagarde, P. Antonelli, W. Jaffe, R. Petrov, L. Venema, S. Robbe-Dubois et al.
MATISSE is a mid-infrared spectro-interferometer combining the beams of up to four Unit Telescopes or Auxiliary Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) of the European Southern Observatory. MATISSE will constitute an evolution of the two-beam interferometric instrument MIDI. New characteristics present in MATISSE will give access to the mapping and the distribution of the material, the gas and essentially the dust, in the circumstellar environments by using the mid-infrared band coverage extended to L, M and N spectral bands. The four beam combination of MATISSE provides an efficient uv-coverage: 6 visibility points are measured in one set and 4 closure phase relations which can provide aperture synthesis images in the mid-infrared spectral regime. We give an overview of the instrument including the expected performances and a view of the Science Case. We present how the instrument would be operated. The project involves the collaborations of several agencies and institutes: the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur of Nice and the INSU-CNRS in Paris, the Max Planck Institut für Astronomie of Heidelberg; the University of Leiden and the NOVA-ASTRON Institute of Dwingeloo, the Max Planck Institut für Radioastronomie of Bonn, the Institut für Theoretische Physik und Astrophysik of Kiel, the Vienna University and the Konkoly Observatory.