Since the first discovery of a planet outside of our Solar System in 1995, exoplanet research has shifted from detecting to characterizing worlds around other stars. The TESS (NASA, launched 2019) and PLATO mission (ESA, planned launch 2026) will find and constrain the size of thousands of exoplanets around bright stars all over the sky. Radial velocity measurements are needed to characterize the orbit and mass, and complete the picture of densities and composition of the exoplanet systems found. The Ariel mission (ESA, planned launch 2028) will characterize exoplanet atmospheres with infrared spectroscopy. Characterization of stellar activity using optical spectroscopy from the ground is key to retrieve the spectral footprint of the planetary atmosphere in Ariel's spectra. To enable the scientific harvest of the TESS, PLATO and Ariel space missions, we plan to install MARVEL as an extension of the existing Mercator Telescope at the Roque De Los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma (SPAIN). MARVEL consists of an array of four 80 cm telescopes linked through optical fibers to a single high-resolution echelle spectrograph, optimized for extreme-precision radial velocity measurements. It can observe the radial velocities of four different stars simultaneously or, alternatively, combine the flux from four telescopes pointing to a single faint target in one spectrum. MARVEL is constructed by a KU Leuven (Belgium) led collaboration, with contributions from the UK, Austria, Australia, Sweden, Denmark and Spain. In this paper, we present the MARVEL instrument with special focus on the optical design and expected performance of the spectrograph, and report on the status of the project.
Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Conference Series
- Pub Date:
- December 2020
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2020, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VIII