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Proceedings Paper

Regaining the FORS: making optical ground-based transmission spectroscopy of exoplanets with VLT+FORS2 possible again
Author(s): Henri M. J. Boffin; Elyar Sedaghati; Guillaume Blanchard; Oscar Gonzalez; Sabine Moehler; Neale Gibson; Mario van den Ancker; Jonathan Smoker; Joseph Anderson; Christian Hummel; Danuta Dobrzycka; Alain Smette; Gero Rupprecht
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Paper Abstract

Transmission spectroscopy facilitates the detection of molecules and/or clouds in the atmospheres of exoplanets. Such studies rely heavily on space-based or large ground-based observatories, as one needs to perform time-resolved, high signal-to-noise spectroscopy. The FORS2 instrument at ESO's Very Large Telescope is the obvious choice for performing such studies, and was indeed pioneering the field in 2010. After that, however, it was shown to suffer from systematic errors caused by the Longitudinal Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector (LADC). This was successfully addressed, leading to a renewed interest for this instrument as shown by the number of proposals submitted to perform transmission spectroscopy of exoplanets. We present here the context, the problem and how we solved it, as well as the recent results obtained. We finish by providing tips for an optimum strategy to do transmission spectroscopy with FORS2, in the hope that FORS2 may become the instrument of choice for ground-based transmission spectroscopy of exoplanets.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 August 2016
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9908, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI, 99082B (9 August 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232094
Show Author Affiliations
Henri M. J. Boffin, European Southern Observatory (Chile)
European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Elyar Sedaghati, European Southern Observatory (Chile)
European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Guillaume Blanchard, European Southern Observatory (Chile)
OPA-Opticad S.A. (France)
Oscar Gonzalez, European Southern Observatory (Chile)
UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)
Sabine Moehler, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Neale Gibson, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Queens Univ. Belfast (United Kingdom)
Mario van den Ancker, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Jonathan Smoker, European Southern Observatory (Chile)
Joseph Anderson, European Southern Observatory (Chile)
Christian Hummel, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Danuta Dobrzycka, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Alain Smette, European Southern Observatory (Chile)
Gero Rupprecht, European Southern Observatory (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9908:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI
Christopher J. Evans; Luc Simard; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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