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

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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.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Seminars series.

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