A new infrared Fabry-Pérot-based radial-velocity-reference module for the SPIRou radial-velocity spectrograph
Geneva Observatory, University of Geneva, Maillettes 51, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
Received: 28 October 2016
Accepted: 30 January 2017
Context. The field of exoplanet research is moving towards the detection and characterization of habitable planets. These exo-Earths can be easily found around low-mass stars by using either photometric transit or radial-velocity (RV) techniques. In the latter case the gain is twofold because the signal induced by the planet of a given mass is higher due to the more favourable planet-star mass ratio and because the habitable zone lies closer to the star. However, late-type stars emit mainly in the infrared (IR) wavelength range, which calls for IR instruments.
Aims. SPIRou is a stable RV IR spectrograph addressing these ambitious scientific objectives. As with any other spectrograph, calibration and drift monitoring is fundamental to achieve high precision. However, the IR domain suffers from a lack of suitable reference spectral sources. Our goal was to build, test and finally operate a Fabry-Pérot-based RV-reference module able to provide the needed spectral information over the full wavelength range of SPIRou.
Methods. We adapted the existing HARPS Fabry-Pérot calibrator for operation in the IR domain. After manufacturing and assembly, we characterized the FP RV-module in the laboratory before delivering it to the SPIRou integration site. In particular, we measured finesse, transmittance, and spectral flux of the system.
Results. The measured finesse value of F = 12.8 corresponds perfectly to the theoretical value. The total transmittance at peak is of the order of 0.5%, mainly limited by fibre-connectors and interfaces. Nevertheless, the provided flux is in line with the the requirements set by the SPIRou instrument. Although we could test the stability of the system, we estimated it by comparing the SPIRou Fabry-Pérot with the already operating HARPS system and demonstrated a stability of better than 1 m s-1 during a night.
Conclusions. Once installed on SPIRou, we will test the full spectral characteristics and stability of the RV-reference module. The goal will be to prove that the line position and shape stability of all lines is better than 0.3 m s-1 between two calibration sequences (typically 24 h), such that the RV-reference module can be used to monitor instrumental drifts. In principle, the system is also intrinsically stable over longer time scales such that it can also be used for calibration purposes.
Key words: instrumentation: spectrographs / instrumentation: interferometers / techniques: radial velocities / telescopes
© ESO, 2017