NEMO – Near-UV European Moon Observatory

1 January 2023
Project member(s)
Prof. P.J. Groot (Paul) Dr S.L.D. Bloemen (Steven) Dr M. Klein Wolt (Marc) , Prof Conny Aerts, KU Leuven, B , Dr Iair Arcavi, Tel Aviv University, IL , Dr Tom Barclay, NASA/GSFC, USA , Dr Jean-Michel Desert, University of Amsterdam, NL , Prof Boris Gänsicke, Warwick University, UK , Prof Stephan Geier, University of Potsdam, D , Dr Thomas Kupfer, Texas Tech University, USA , Prof Danny Steeghs, Warwick, UK , Mr Rik ter Horst, NOVA Optical-Infrared, NL , Prof Eline Tolstoy, University of Groningen, NL , Prof Rudy Wijnands, University of Amsterdam, NL
Project type

NEMO, which stands for Near-UV European Moon Observatory, is a concept to put a near-UV telescope on the Moon. It has been submitted to ESA in July 2020 in response to their call for "Ideas for exploring the Moon with a large European lander".

NEMO: A unique chance to do UV astronomy from the Moon

NEMO consists of an array of wide-field UV-sensitive telescopes in a common enclosure that allow a study of the fast, hot and violent universe over 600 square degrees of sky on time scales of 10 seconds down to 22nd magnitude. A unit telescope will consist of a 30cm diameter mirror coupled with a 36 Mpix CMOS detector. The Moon’s slow rotation allows for a fully fixed, never-moving telescope array that is able to achieve high spatial resolution, uninterrupted cadence and unprecedented depth.

NEMO will study supernovae, exoplanets and their host stars, kilonova gravitational wave counterparts, LISA sources, tidal disruptions events and the deep universe. NEMO will have no moving parts and uses the unique features of the Moon: no atmosphere, perpetual observations and a very slow rotation. At the South Pole, a ring configuration of the unit telescopes will allow for more than 17000 observations per month per source (1 million observations per source over the 60 month duration). NEMO will go 3x wider, 3x deeper and 90x faster than any currently approved facility. Through co-adds it will cover the extragalactic sky to the same depth as the UV Hubble Ultradeep Field (mAB=29), but over an area 350000x wider. NEMO is highly synergetic with the ESA missions Gaia, Euclid, LISA, Athena and PLATO and will establish Europe’s preeminence in multi-messenger time-domain astronomy.

NEMO presentation