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Proceedings Paper

ESPRESSO: the ultimate rocky exoplanets hunter for the VLT
Author(s): Denis Mégevand; Filippo M. Zerbi; Alexandre Cabral; Paolo Di Marcantonio; Manuel Amate; Francesco Pepe; Stefano Cristiani; Rafael Rebolo; Nuno C. Santos; Hans Dekker; Manuel Abreu; Michael Affolter; Gerardo Avila; Veronica Baldini; Paul Bristow; Christopher Broeg; Pedro Carvas; Roberto Cirami; João Coelho; Maurizio Comari; Paolo Conconi; Igor Coretti; Guido Cupani; Valentina D'Odorico; Vincenzo De Caprio; Bernard Delabre; Pedro Figueira; Michel Fleury; Ana Fragoso; Ludovic Genolet; Ricardo Gomes; Jonay Gonzalez Hernandez; Ian Hughes; Olaf Iwert; Florian Kerber; Marco Landoni; Jorge Lima; Jean-Louis Lizon; Christophe Lovis; Charles Maire; Marco Mannetta; Carlos Martins; André Moitinho; Paolo Molaro; Manuel Monteiro; José Luis Rasilla; Marco Riva; Samuel Santana Tschudi; Paolo Santin; Danuta Sosnowska; Sergio Sousa; Paolo Spanò; Fabio Tenegi; Giorgio Toso; Eros Vanzella; Matteo Viel; Maria Rosa Zapatero Osorio
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Paper Abstract

ESPRESSO, the VLT rocky exoplanets hunter, will combine the efficiency of modern echelle spectrograph with extreme radial-velocity precision. It will be installed at Paranal on ESO's VLT in order to achieve a gain of two magnitudes with respect to its predecessor HARPS, and the instrumental radial-velocity precision will be improved to reach 10 cm/s level. We have constituted a Consortium of astronomical research institutes to fund, design and build ESPRESSO on behalf of and in collaboration with ESO, the European Southern Observatory. The project has passed the preliminary design review in November 2011. The spectrograph will be installed at the so-called "Combined Coudé Laboratory" of the VLT, it will be linked to the four 8.2 meters Unit Telescopes (UT) through four optical "Coudé trains" and will be operated either with a single telescope or with up to four UTs. In exchange of the major financial and human effort the building Consortium will be awarded with guaranteed observing time (GTO), which will be invested in a common scientific program. Thanks to its characteristics and the ability of combining incoherently the light of 4 large telescopes, ESPRESSO will offer new possibilities in many fields of astronomy. Our main scientific objectives are, however, the search and characterization of rocky exoplanets in the habitable zone of quiet, near-by G to M-dwarfs, and the analysis of the variability of fundamental physical constants. In this paper, we present the ambitious scientific objectives, the capabilities of ESPRESSO, the technical solutions for the system and its subsystems, enlightening the main differences between ESPRESSO and its predecessors. The project aspects of this facility are also described, from the consortium and partnership structure to the planning phases and milestones.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 September 2012
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 8446, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV, 84461R (24 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.924602
Show Author Affiliations
Denis Mégevand, Observatoire de l'Univ. de Genève (Switzerland)
Filippo M. Zerbi, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Alexandre Cabral, Univ. de Lisboa (Portugal)
Paolo Di Marcantonio, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Manuel Amate, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Spain)
Francesco Pepe, Observatoire de l'Univ. de Genève (Switzerland)
Stefano Cristiani, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Rafael Rebolo, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Spain)
Nuno C. Santos, Ctr. de Astrofísica da Univ. do Porto (Portugal)
Hans Dekker, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Manuel Abreu, Ctr. de Astronomia e Astrofísica, Univ. de Lisboa (Portugal)
Michael Affolter, Univ. of Bern (Switzerland)
Gerardo Avila, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Veronica Baldini, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Paul Bristow, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Christopher Broeg, Univ. of Bern (Switzerland)
Pedro Carvas, Univ. de Lisboa (Portugal)
Roberto Cirami, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
João Coelho, Univ. de Lisboa (Portugal)
Maurizio Comari, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Paolo Conconi, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Igor Coretti, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Guido Cupani, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Valentina D'Odorico, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Vincenzo De Caprio, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Bernard Delabre, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Pedro Figueira, Ctr. de Astrofísica da Univ. do Porto (Portugal)
Michel Fleury, Observatoire de l'Univ. de Genève (Switzerland)
Ana Fragoso, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Spain)
Ludovic Genolet, Observatoire de l'Univ. de Genève (Switzerland)
Ricardo Gomes, Univ. of Lisbon (Portugal)
Jonay Gonzalez Hernandez, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Spain)
Ian Hughes, Observatoire de l'Univ. de Genève (Switzerland)
Olaf Iwert, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Florian Kerber, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Marco Landoni, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Jorge Lima, Univ. of Lisbon (Portugal)
Jean-Louis Lizon, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Christophe Lovis, Observatoire de l'Univ. de Genève (Switzerland)
Charles Maire, Observatoire de l'Univ. de Genève (Switzerland)
Marco Mannetta, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Carlos Martins, Ctr. de Astrofísica da Univ. do Porto (Portugal)
André Moitinho, Univ. of Lisbon (Portugal)
Paolo Molaro, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Manuel Monteiro, Ctr. de Astrofísica da Univ. do Porto (Portugal)
José Luis Rasilla, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Spain)
Marco Riva, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Samuel Santana Tschudi, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Spain)
Paolo Santin, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Danuta Sosnowska, Observatoire de l'Univ. de Genève (Switzerland)
Sergio Sousa, Ctr. de Astrofísica da Univ. do Porto (Portugal)
Paolo Spanò, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Fabio Tenegi, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Spain)
Giorgio Toso, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Eros Vanzella, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Matteo Viel, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
Maria Rosa Zapatero Osorio, Ctr. de Astrobiología, Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (Spain)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8446:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV
Ian S. McLean; Suzanne K. Ramsay; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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