|Ian Parry's Home Page
Active Research Projects
University of Cambridge
Institute of Astronomy
SUPER-SHARP: Space-based Unfolding Primary for Exoplanet Research via Spectroscopic High Angular Resolution Photography
The top picture on the left shows a concept for a 23.5m telescope that
can fit into the 4.57m diameter fairing of an Ariane 6 rocket.
To see how such a large telescope can fit into an Ariane 6 go to Youtube animation #1.
Each of the 4 mirrors in the cross-shaped primary is 10m x 2.8m. The
picture underneath shows another version of SUPERSHARP that fits in a
Soyuz rocket fairing. The primary mirror for this is 24x3.3m (see Youtube animation #2). SUPER-SHARP will directly image exoplanets and its instrumentation includes active mirror control,
a coronograph (to remove the light from the central star for exoplanet
observations) and an
integral field spectrograph (to give R=100 spectra for every pixel
in the 2x2 arcsec FOV). The 23.5m mirror baseline gives an inner
angle (IWA) of 16 mas at 750nm with 8 mas spatial resolution and an IWA
of just 2.7 mas at ultra-violet wavelengths.
The SUPER-SHARP design philosophy is to push extremely hard on spatial
resolution and IWA while at the same time keeping within an affordable
budget. SUPER-SHARP will therefore maximise primary
mirror baseline, use the shortest possible operating wavelength and be
pragmatic about everything else (number
of instruments, field of view, thermal management, raw speckle
contrast, etc.). Some mirror deployment strategies (i.e unfolding mechanisms) can achieve even greater baselines than 23m.
The mission's main science goals are:
out a "quick-look" reconnaissance of the ~500-1000 stars with
the most readily observed habitable zones (HZ) making a census
(including spectroscopy) of the number of Earths, Super-Earths,
Neptunes and Jupiters in each system.
image many exoplanets already discovered through the radial
velocity technique (e.g the "hot Jupiter", Ups And b) or by GAIA. The hot-jupiter science is
enabled by the very small IWA.
deep follow-up imaging and spectroscopy of the most interesting ~50-100
systems to thoroughly characterise them chemically, physically and
dynamically. For a subset of these, with Earth-like planets in their HZ, this will include looking for the A-band oxygen bio-signature.
The telescope will also, of course, be very powerful for many other non-exoplanet programs.
This is a near infrared integral-field spectrograph
placed behind a high order AO system and a coronograph for
direct imaging-spectroscopy of faint stellar companions including
self-luminous extra-solar planets. P1640 is currently operational on
the 5m Hale telescope at the Palomar Observatory. The top picture on
the left shows our detection of all 4 of the known
exoplanets orbiting the star HR8799. The second picture shows the P1640
spectra we obtained for these exoplanets. See Oppenheimer et al, 2013,
Ap J, 768 for details.
P1640 is a collaboration between the American Museum of Natural
History, New York (PI: Rebecca Oppenheimer), Caltech, JPL and the IoA.
Eleanor Bacchus is my PhD student at the IoA working on P1640.
MOONS is a NIR fibre-fed multi-object spectrograph for
the VLT. It will have 1024 fibres, a FOV of 25 arcmins diameter,
between R=4000 and R=20000 and a wavelength coverage of 0.8 to 1.8
microns. The project recently passed its preliminary design review and the next steps are detailed design and construction.
This project is led by the UKATC (PI: Michele Cirasuolo). My
MOONS collaborators in Cambridge are Roberto Maiolino, Chris Haniff, David Buscher, Martin Fisher and David Sun.
Science drivers for MOONS include
galactic archaeology (especially the obscured bulge), Galaxy evolution
at z>1, reionisation z>~7 and cosmology via RSD at z>1.
MOONS description paper.
MOONS updated optical design paper.
This is the high resolution spectrograph for the European Extremely Large Telescope.
Currently the project is in the conceptual design phase. There are numerous science drivers but the key ones are:
Exoplanet transit spectroscopy (including the possibility of detecting life)
Looking for the chemical signature of population-III stars
Cosmology and fundamental physics
HIRES collaborators in Cambridge are Roberto Maiolino, Didier Queloz,
Martin Haehnelt, Max Pettini, Chris Haniff, David Buscher, Martin
Fisher and David Sun.
on Feb 11th 2016.