Institute of Astronomy

iLocater: Breaking the 1m/s radial velocity precision barrier

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Jonathan Crass (University of Notre Dame)15 June 2016Institute of Astronomy Seminars


Today's radial velocity (RV) instruments for planet detection are limited by systematic errors due to their seeing-limited telescope inputs. In the era of adaptive optics at large telescope facilities worldwide, it is now possible to use a diffraction-limited input for an RV spectrograph, reducing their size, overcoming intrinsic effects and improving their stability and precision. iLocater, a new RV spectrograph being developed at the University of Notre Dame, will be installed at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), AZ, USA. By using the two 8.4m primary mirrors of the telescope, each with its own independent AO system, light can be coupled to single-mode optical fibres which feed a temperature-stabilised diffraction-limited spectrograph operating at cryogenic temperatures. Combined, mitigates the effects limiting today's leading RV instruments and will allow single-measurement precision for RVs below 1m/s for the first time.