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Proceedings Paper

The Pathfinder testbed: exploring techniques for achieving precision radial velocities in the near infrared
Author(s): Larry W. Ramsey; Suvrath Mahadevan; Stephen Redman; Chad Bender; Arpita Roy; Stephanie Zonak; Steinn Sigurdsson; Alex Wolszczan
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Paper Abstract

The Penn State Pathfinder is a prototype warm fiber-fed Echelle spectrograph with a Hawaii-1 NIR detector that has already demonstrated 7-10 m/s radial velocity precision on integrated sunlight. The Pathfinder testbed was initially setup for the Gemini PRVS design study to enable a systematic exploration of the challenges of achieving high radial velocity precision in the near-infrared, as well as to test possible solutions to these calibration challenges. The current version of the Pathfinder has an R3 echelle grating, and delivers a resolution of R~50,000 in the Y, J or H bands of the spectrum. We will discuss the on sky-performance of the Pathfinder during an engineering test run at the Hobby Eberly Telescope as well the results of velocity observations of M dwarfs. We will also discuss the unique calibration techniques we have explored, like Uranium-Neon hollow cathode lamps, notch filter, and modal noise mitigation to enable high precision radial velocity observation in the NIR. The Pathfinder is a prototype testbed precursor of a cooled high-resolution NIR spectrograph capable of high radial velocity precision and of finding low mass planets around mid-late M dwarfs.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 July 2010
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 7735, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III, 773571 (20 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857502
Show Author Affiliations
Larry W. Ramsey, Davey Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Ctr. for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Suvrath Mahadevan, Davey Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Ctr. for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Stephen Redman, Davey Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Chad Bender, Davey Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Ctr. for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Arpita Roy, Davey Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Ctr. for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Stephanie Zonak, Davey Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Steinn Sigurdsson, Davey Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Ctr. for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Alex Wolszczan, Davey Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Ctr. for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Penn State Astrobiology Research Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7735:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III
Ian S. McLean; Suzanne K. Ramsay; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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