Time-domain astronomy and the increasing number of exoplanet candidates call for reliable, robust, and automatic wavelength calibration. We present an algorithm for wavelength-calibrating échelle spectrographs that uses order-by-order extracted spectra and a list of laboratory wavelengths. Our approach is fully automatic and does not need the pixel locations of certain spectral features with which to anchor the wavelength solution, nor the true order number of each diffraction order. We use spectral features that are duplicated in adjacent orders to establish the scale-invariant component of the wavelength solution. We then match the central wavelengths of spectral features to laboratory wavelengths to establish the scale and higher-order components of the wavelength solution. We demonstrate our method on the four spectrographs of Las Cumbres Observatory's Network of Robotic Échelle Spectrographs (NRES), on the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph, and on synthetic data. We obtain a velocity-equivalent precision of ∼10 m s-1 on NRES. We achieve ∼1 m s-1 on HARPS, which agrees with the precision reported by the HARPS team. On synthetic data, we achieve the velocity precision set by Gaussian centroiding errors. Our algorithm likely holds for a wide range of spectrographs beyond the five presented here. We provide an open-source Python package, xwavecal, which outputs wavelength-calibrated spectra as well as the wavelengths of spectral features.
The Astronomical Journal
- Pub Date:
- July 2020
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 13 pages, 9 figures