Precision velocimetry planet hunting with PARAS: current performance and lessons to inform future extreme precision radial velocity instruments
The PRL Advanced Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search (PARAS) instrument is a fiber-fed stabilized high-resolution cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph, located on the 1.2 m telescope in Mt. Abu India. Designed for exoplanet detection, PARAS is capable of single-shot spectral coverage of 3800 - 9600 Å, and currently achieving radial velocity (RV) precisions approaching 1 m s-1 over several months using simultaneous ThAr calibration. As such, it is one of the few dedicated stabilized fiber-fed spectrographs on small (1-2 m) telescopes that are able to fill an important niche in RV follow-up and stellar characterization. The success of ground-based RV surveys is motivating the push into extreme precisions, with goals of 10 cm s-1 in the optical and <1 m s-1 in the near-infrared (NIR). Lessons from existing instruments like PARAS are invaluable in informing hardware design, providing pipeline prototypes, and guiding scientific surveys. Here we present our current precision estimates of PARAS based on observations of bright RV standard stars, and describe the evolution of the data reduction and RV analysis pipeline as instrument characterization progresses and we gather longer baselines of data. Secondly, we discuss how our experience with PARAS is a critical component in the development of future cutting edge instruments like (1) the Habitable Zone Planet Finder (HPF), a near-infrared spectrograph optimized to look for planets around M dwarfs, scheduled to be commissioned on the Hobby Eberly Telescope in 2017, and (2) the NEID optical spectrograph, designed in response to the NN-EXPLORE call for an extreme precision Doppler spectrometer (EPDS) for the WIYN telescope. In anticipation of instruments like TESS and GAIA, the ground-based RV support system is being reinforced. We emphasize that instruments like PARAS will play an intrinsic role in providing both complementary follow-up and battlefront experience for these next generation of precision velocimeters.
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI
- Pub Date:
- August 2016
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 9 pages, 6 figures, published in Proc. of SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2016