Introduction

The Visible and Infra-Red Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) is a 4 m diameter wide field survey telescope, which is in development for delivery by late 2006. When completed it will be the world's largest

telescope dedicated to ground-based survey work and will become part of ESO's Cerro Paranal Observatory. The VISTA IR Camera will use a mosaic array of 16 Raytheon 2K*2K VIRGO detectors at its focal plane (see Fig. 1) [1, 2]. Each detector has 16 parallel video output channels. In total 256 video channels must be processed, resulting in a readout time for the complete focal plane of less than 1 sec. In order to control these detectors, ESO's standard Infrared Array Control Electronics, IRACE, is used to control and read out the VISTA focal plane. The IRACE system is modular and has been adapted for VISTA IR camera requirements.

Figure 1. VISTA focal plane accommodating 16 2K*2K Raytheon VIRGO detectors.

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