HPF - A NIR Laser Comb on the HET for finding low-mass M dwarf planets

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HPF - A NIR Laser Comb on the HET for finding low-mass M dwarf planets

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 10th September 2012, 8:19 pm

The Habitable-Zone Planet Finder: A Stabilized Fiber-Fed NIR Spectrograph for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope
http://arxiv.org/abs/1209.1686

We present the scientific motivation and conceptual design for the recently funded Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF), a stabilized fiber-fed near-infrared (NIR) spectrograph for the 10 meter class Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) that will be capable of discovering low mass planets around M dwarfs. The HPF will cover the NIR Y & J bands to enable precise radial velocities to be obtained on mid M dwarfs, and enable the detection of low mass planets around these stars. The conceptual design is comprised of a cryostat cooled to 200K, a dual fiber-feed with a science and calibration fiber, a gold coated mosaic echelle grating, and a Teledyne Hawaii-2RG (H2RG) NIR detector with a 1.7$\mu$m cutoff. A uranium-neon hollow-cathode lamp is the baseline wavelength calibration source, and we are actively testing laser frequency combs to enable even higher radial velocity precision. We will present the overall instrument system design and integration with the HET, and discuss major system challenges, key choices, and ongoing research and development projects to mitigate risk. We also discuss the ongoing process of target selection for the HPF survey.

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Re: HPF - A NIR Laser Comb on the HET for finding low-mass M dwarf planets

Post by Galzi on 13th September 2012, 2:35 pm

Decision to implement the project taken one year ago

http://science.psu.edu/news-and-events/2011-news/Mahadevan9-2011

the spectrograph should start operations on the fall of 2014; if the HARPS data on red dwarfs is confirmed, HPF will detect a number of HZ planets within few tens of light years from the Solar neighbourhood. Though their real habitability, with very short orbits around cool red dwarfs, will indeed remain disputed for a long time...

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