8 July 2014 ESPRESSO: the radial velocity machine for the VLT
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Abstract
ESPRESSO is the next generation ground based European exoplanets hunter. It will combine the efficiency of modern echelle spectrograph with extreme radial-velocity and spectroscopic precision. It will be installed at Paranal's VLT in order to achieve two magnitudes gain 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 spectrograph will be installed at the Combined Coudé Laboratory (CCL) of the VLT, it will be linked to the four 8.2 meters Unit Telescopes through four optical "Coudé trains" and will be operated either with a single telescope or with up to four UTs, enabling an additional 1.5 magnitude gain. Thanks to its characteristics and 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. The project is, for most of its workpackages, in the procurement or development phases, and the CCL infrastructure is presently under adaptation work. In this paper, we present the scientific objectives, the capabilities of ESPRESSO, the technical solutions for the system and its subsystems. 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, Filippo M. Zerbi, Paolo Di Marcantonio, Alexandre Cabral, Marco Riva, Manuel Abreu, Francesco Pepe, Stefano Cristiani, Rafael Rebolo Lopez, Nuno C. Santos, Hans Dekker, Matteo Aliverti, Carlos Allende, Manuel Amate, Gerardo Avila, Veronica Baldini, Timothy Bandy, Paul Bristow, Christopher Broeg, Roberto Cirami, João Coelho, Paolo Conconi, Igor Coretti, Guido Cupani, Valentina D'Odorico, Vincenzo De Caprio, Bernard Delabre, Reinhold Dorn, Pedro Figueira, Ana Fragoso, Samuele Galeotta, Ludovic Genolet, Ricardo Gomes, Jonay González Hernández, Ian Hughes, Olaf Iwert, Florian Kerber, Marco Landoni, Jean-Louis Lizon, Christophe Lovis, Charles Maire, Marco Mannetta, Carlos C. J. A. P. Martins, Paolo Molaro, Manuel A. S. Monteiro, Manuele Moschetti, Antonio Oliveira, Maria Rosa Zapatero Osorio, Ennio Poretti, José Luis Rasilla, Samuel Santana Tschudi, Pedro Santos, Danuta Sosnowska, Sérgio Sousa, Fabio Tenegi, Giorgio Toso, Eros Vanzella, Matteo Viel, "ESPRESSO: the radial velocity machine for the VLT", Proc. SPIE 9147, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V, 91471H (8 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2055816; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2055816
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