24 July 2014 On-sky calibration performance of a monolithic Michelson interferometer filtered source
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In the new era of searching for Earth-like planets, new generation radial velocity (RV) high resolution spectrographs requires ~0.1 m/s Doppler calibration accuracy in the visible band and a similar calibration precision in the near infrared. The patented stable monolithic Michelson interferometer filtered source called the Sine source emerges as a very promising calibration device. This Sine source has the potential of covering the practical working wavelengths (~0.38- 2.5 μm) for Doppler measurements with high resolution optical and near infrared high resolution spectrographs at the ground-based telescopes. The single frame calibration precision can reach < 0.1 m/s for the state of the art spectrographs, and it can be easily designed to match the intrinsic sensitivities of future Doppler instruments. The Sine source also has the great practical advantages in compact (portable) size and low cost. Here we report early results from on-sky calibration of a Sine source measured with two state-of-the-art TOU optical high resolution spectrograph (R=100,000, 0.38-0.9 microns) and FIRST near infrared spectrograph (R=50,000, 0.8-1.8 microns) at a 2 meter robotic telescope at Fairborn Observatory in Arizona. The results with the TOU spectrograph monitoring over seven days show that the Sine source has produced ~3 times better calibration precision than the ThAr calibration (RMS = 2.7m/s vs. 7.4m/s) at 0.49-0.62 microns where calibration data have been processed by our preliminary data pipeline and ~1.4 times better than the iodine absorption spectra (RMS=3.6 m/s) at the same wavelength region. As both ThAr and Iodine have reached sub m/s calibration accuracy with existing Doppler instruments (such as HARPS and HIRES), it is likely that the sine source would provide similar improvement once a better data pipeline and an upgraded version of a Sine source are developed. It is totally possible to reach ~0.1 m/s in the optical wavelength region. In addition, this Sine source offers potential very accurate calibration at 0.7-0.9 μm where ThAr lines are totally dominated by strong and saturated Argon lines and the ThAr calibration data are nearly useless. The early measurements with the FIRST near infrared spectrograph show that this Sine source produces very homogenous fringe modulations over 0.8-1.8 μm which can potentially provide better precision than the UrNe lamp for instrument drift measurements.
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Jian Ge, Bo Ma, Scott Powell, Frank Varosi, Sidney Schofield, Nolan Grieves, Jian Liu, "On-sky calibration performance of a monolithic Michelson interferometer filtered source", Proc. SPIE 9146, Optical and Infrared Interferometry IV, 914608 (24 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057095; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2057095

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