24 September 2012 ESPRESSO: the ultimate rocky exoplanets hunter for the VLT
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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.
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Denis Mégevand, Denis Mégevand, Filippo M. Zerbi, Filippo M. Zerbi, Alexandre Cabral, Alexandre Cabral, Paolo Di Marcantonio, Paolo Di Marcantonio, Manuel Amate, Manuel Amate, Francesco Pepe, Francesco Pepe, Stefano Cristiani, Stefano Cristiani, Rafael Rebolo, Rafael Rebolo, Nuno C. Santos, Nuno C. Santos, Hans Dekker, Hans Dekker, Manuel Abreu, Manuel Abreu, Michael Affolter, Michael Affolter, Gerardo Avila, Gerardo Avila, Veronica Baldini, Veronica Baldini, Paul Bristow, Paul Bristow, Christopher Broeg, Christopher Broeg, Pedro Carvas, Pedro Carvas, Roberto Cirami, Roberto Cirami, João Coelho, João Coelho, Maurizio Comari, Maurizio Comari, Paolo Conconi, Paolo Conconi, Igor Coretti, Igor Coretti, Guido Cupani, Guido Cupani, Valentina D'Odorico, Valentina D'Odorico, Vincenzo De Caprio, Vincenzo De Caprio, Bernard Delabre, Bernard Delabre, Pedro Figueira, Pedro Figueira, Michel Fleury, Michel Fleury, Ana Fragoso, Ana Fragoso, Ludovic Genolet, Ludovic Genolet, Ricardo Gomes, Ricardo Gomes, Jonay Gonzalez Hernandez, Jonay Gonzalez Hernandez, Ian Hughes, Ian Hughes, Olaf Iwert, Olaf Iwert, Florian Kerber, Florian Kerber, Marco Landoni, Marco Landoni, Jorge Lima, Jorge Lima, Jean-Louis Lizon, Jean-Louis Lizon, Christophe Lovis, Christophe Lovis, Charles Maire, Charles Maire, Marco Mannetta, Marco Mannetta, Carlos Martins, Carlos Martins, André Moitinho, André Moitinho, Paolo Molaro, Paolo Molaro, Manuel Monteiro, Manuel Monteiro, José Luis Rasilla, José Luis Rasilla, Marco Riva, Marco Riva, Samuel Santana Tschudi, Samuel Santana Tschudi, Paolo Santin, Paolo Santin, Danuta Sosnowska, Danuta Sosnowska, Sergio Sousa, Sergio Sousa, Paolo Spanò, Paolo Spanò, Fabio Tenegi, Fabio Tenegi, Giorgio Toso, Giorgio Toso, Eros Vanzella, Eros Vanzella, Matteo Viel, Matteo Viel, Maria Rosa Zapatero Osorio, Maria Rosa Zapatero Osorio, } "ESPRESSO: the ultimate rocky exoplanets hunter for the VLT", Proc. SPIE 8446, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV, 84461R (24 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.924602; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.924602
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