Modern precise radial velocity spectrometers are designed to infer the existence of planets orbiting other stars by measuring few-nm shifts in the positions of stellar spectral lines recorded at high spectral resolution on a large-area digital detector. While the spectrometer may be highly stabilized in terms of temperature, the detector itself may undergo changes in temperature during readout that are an order of magnitude or more larger than the other optomechanical components within the instrument. These variations in detector temperature can translate directly into systematic measurement errors. We explore a technique for reducing the amplitude of CCD temperature variations by shuffling charge within a pixel in the parallel direction during integration. We find that this “dither clocking” mode greatly reduces temperature variations in the CCDs being tested for the NEID spectrometer. We investigate several potential negative effects this clocking scheme could have on the underlying spectral data.
Two key areas of emphasis in contemporary experimental exoplanet science are the detailed characterization of transiting terrestrial planets and the search for Earth analog planets to be targeted by future imaging missions. Both of these pursuits are dependent on an order-of-magnitude improvement in the measurement of stellar radial velocities (RV), setting a requirement on single-measurement instrumental uncertainty of order 10 cm / s. Achieving such extraordinary precision on a high-resolution spectrometer requires thermomechanically stabilizing the instrument to unprecedented levels. We describe the environment control system (ECS) of the NEID spectrometer, which will be commissioned on the 3.5-m WIYN Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in 2019, and has a performance specification of on-sky RV precision <50 cm / s. Because NEID’s optical table and mounts are made from aluminum, which has a high coefficient of thermal expansion, sub-milliKelvin temperature control is especially critical. NEID inherits its ECS from that of the Habitable-Zone Planet Finder (HPF), but with modifications for improved performance and operation near room temperature. Our full-system stability test shows the NEID system exceeds the already impressive performance of HPF, maintaining vacuum pressures below 10 − 6 Torr and a root mean square (RMS) temperature stability better than 0.4 mK over 30 days. Our ECS design is fully open-source; the design of our temperature-controlled vacuum chamber has already been made public, and here we release the electrical schematics for our custom temperature monitoring and control system.
The NEID spectrometer is an optical (380-930 nm), fiber-fed, precision Doppler spectrometer currently in de- velopment for the WIYN 3.5 m telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory as part of the NN-EXPLORE partnership. Designed to achieve a radial velocity precision of < 30 cm/s, NEID will be sensitive enough to detect terrestrial-mass exoplanets around low-mass stars. Light from the target stars is focused by the telescope to a bent Cassegrain port at the edge of the primary mirror mechanical support. The specialized NEID “Port Adapter” system is mounted at this bent Cassegrain port and is responsible for delivering the incident light from the telescope to the NEID fibers. In order to provide stable, high-quality images to the science instrument, the Port Adapter houses several sub-components designed to acquire the target stars, correct for atmospheric dis- persion, stabilize the light onto the science fibers, and calibrate the spectrometer by injecting known wavelength sources such as a laser frequency comb. Here we provide an overview of the overall opto-mechanical design and system requirements of the Port Adapter. We also describe the development of system error budgets and test plans to meet those requirements.
NEID is a new extreme precision Doppler spectrometer for the WIYN telescope. It is fiber fed and employs a classical white pupil Echelle configuration. NEID has a fiber aperture of only 0.92” on sky in high-resolution mode, and its tight radial velocity error budget resulted in very stringent stability requirements for the input illumination of the spectrograph optics. Consequently, the demands on the fiber injection are challenging. In this paper, we describe the layout and optical design of the injection module, including a broadband, high image quality relay and a high-performance atmospheric dispersion corrector (ADC) across the bandwidth of 380 – 930 nm.
NEID is an ultra-stabilized, high-resolution, fiber-fed, spectrometer being built by a multi-institutional team for the 3.5 m WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, with a delivery date in 2019. The instrument is supported by the NN-EXPLORE program, a joint endeavor between NASA and the NSF to provide the exoplanet community with extreme ground-based Doppler radial velocity (RV) measurement capability. NEID's primary science objective is the discovery and characterization of terrestrial mass exoplanets, including follow-up of planets discovered by TESS and other spacecraft missions. Achieving these goals requires a multi-faceted approach that combines a state of the art Doppler instrument with a RV precision goal of 30 cm/s, a significantly improved understanding of the stellar radial velocity signal and intrinsic stellar variability, and large numbers of observations distributed optimally in time following guidelines refined over the past 25 years of RV exoplanet discovery.
NEID uses a single-arm white pupil echelle optical design to produce R~100,000 spectra covering the complete wavelength range from 0.38 - 0.92 microns on a single 9k x 9k CCD. The optical bench and optics are stabilized with a state of the art temperature control system that achieves sub-mK stability, and are surrounded by a vacuum chamber that maintains 10^-7 Torr pressure or better. This extreme stability minimizes drift in the optics and optomechanical systems. Light is transfered from the telescope to the spectrometer using fiber-optic feeds that combine circular and octagonal fibers with a ball-lens double scrambler to provide high amounts of radial and azmuthal scrambling that minimize variations in the input illumination. These fibers interface with the WIYN telescope through a sophisticated new instrument port, which will provide atmospheric-dispersion correction and active tip-tilt to ensure precise and repeatable target positioning on the fiber. A three tiered calibration system utilizes a Laser Frequency Comb as the primary wavelength calibrator, while providing a stabilized etalon and ThAr and UNe Hollow-Cathode Lamps as high-reliability backup sources. An integrated exposure meter in the form of a low-resolution spectrometer measures precise chromatic exposure time centroids. A sophisticated data reduction pipeline that builds upon algorithms developed over decades of precision RV spectroscopy will automatically transform raw images and telemetry into RVs and other high-level data products, which will be served to users and the community through a NExScI portal.
In this paper, we will provide an overview of the NEID project, including a progress update on the instrument integration and testing. We will also describe the WIYN operations plan, which is built around queue scheduled observations, and detail notional science programs that can be carried out with NEID, including the instrument team's GTO program. Finally, we will briefly discuss the impacts of stellar variability, which currently limit RV measurement precision well shy of the fundamental instrument limit, and which we and others are actively working to better understand and mitigate. Additional papers in this conference will describe the instrument subsystems in more detail.
We describe a detailed radial velocity error budget for the NASA-NSF Extreme Precision Doppler Spectrometer instrument concept NEID (NN-explore Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler spectroscopy). Such an instrument performance budget is a necessity for both identifying the variety of noise sources currently limiting Doppler measurements, and estimating the achievable performance of next generation exoplanet hunting Doppler spectrometers. For these instruments, no single source of instrumental error is expected to set the overall measurement floor. Rather, the overall instrumental measurement precision is set by the contribution of many individual error sources. We use a combination of numerical simulations, educated estimates based on published materials, extrapolations of physical models, results from laboratory measurements of spectroscopic subsystems, and informed upper limits for a variety of error sources to identify likely sources of systematic error and construct our global instrument performance error budget. While natively focused on the performance of the NEID instrument, this modular performance budget is immediately adaptable to a number of current and future instruments. Such an approach is an important step in charting a path towards improving Doppler measurement precisions to the levels necessary for discovering Earth-like planets.
We have developed an optical design for a high resolution spectrograph in response to NASA’s call for an extreme precision Doppler spectrometer (EPDS) for the WIYN telescope. Our instrument covers a wavelength range of 380 to 930 nm using a single detector and with a resolution of 100,000. To deliver the most stable spectrum, we avoid the use of an image slicer, in favor of a large (195 mm diameter) beam footprint on a 1x2 mosaic R4 Echelle grating. The optical design is based on a classic white pupil layout, with a single parabolic mirror that is used as the main and transfer collimator. Cross dispersion is provided by a single large PBM2Y glass prism. The refractive camera consists of only four rotationally symmetric lenses made from i-Line glasses, yet delivers very high image quality over the full spectral bandpass. We present the optical design of the main spectrograph bench and discuss the design trade-offs and expected performance.
The Miniature Exoplanet Radial Velocity Array (MINERVA) is a U.S.-based observational facility dedicated to the discovery and characterization of exoplanets around a nearby sample of bright stars. MINERVA employs a robotic array of four 0.7-m telescopes outfitted for both high-resolution spectroscopy and photometry, and is designed for completely autonomous operation. The primary science program is a dedicated radial velocity survey and the secondary science objective is to obtain high-precision transit light curves. The modular design of the facility and the flexibility of our hardware allows for both science programs to be pursued simultaneously, while the robotic control software provides a robust and efficient means to carry out nightly observations. We describe the design of MINERVA, including major hardware components, software, and science goals. The telescopes and photometry cameras are characterized at our test facility on the Caltech campus in Pasadena, California, and their on-sky performance is validated. The design and simulated performance of the spectrograph is briefly discussed as we await its completion. New observations from our test facility demonstrate sub-mmag photometric precision of one of our radial velocity survey targets, and we present new transit observations and fits of WASP-52b—a known hot-Jupiter with an inflated radius and misaligned orbit. The process of relocating the MINERVA hardware to its final destination at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona has begun, and science operations are expected to commence in 2015.
We report the system design and predicted performance of the Florida IR Silicon immersion grating
spectromeTer (FIRST). This new generation cryogenic IR spectrograph offers broad-band high resolution
IR spectroscopy with R=72,000 at 1.4-1.8 μm and R=60,000 at 0.8-1.35 μm in a single exposure with a
2kx2k H2RG IR array. It is enabled by a compact design using an extremely high dispersion silicon
immersion grating (SIG) and an R4 echelle with a 50 mm diameter pupil in combination with an Image
Slicer. This instrument is operated in vacuum with temperature precisely controlled to reach long term
stability for high precision radial velocity (RV) measurements of nearby stars, especially M dwarfs and
young stars. The primary technical goal is to reach better than 4 m/s long term RV precision with J<9 M
dwarfs within 30 min exposures. This instrument is scheduled to be commissioned at the Tennessee State
University (TSU) 2-m Automatic Spectroscopic Telescope (AST) at Fairborn Observatory in spring 2013.
FIRST can also be used for observing transiting planets, young stellar objects (YSOs), magnetic fields,
binaries, brown dwarfs (BDs), ISM and stars.
We plan to launch the FIRST NIR M dwarf planet survey in 2014 after FIRST is commissioned at the
AST. This NIR M dwarf survey is the first large-scale NIR high precision Doppler survey dedicated to
detecting and characterizing planets around 215 nearby M dwarfs with J< 10. Our primary science goal is
to look for habitable Super-Earths around the late M dwarfs and also to identify transiting systems for
follow-up observations with JWST to measure the planetary atmospheric compositions and study their
habitability. Our secondary science goal is to detect and characterize a large number of planets around M
dwarfs to understand the statistics of planet populations around these low mass stars and constrain planet
formation and evolution models. Our survey baseline is expected to detect ~30 exoplanets, including 10
Super Earths, within 100 day periods. About half of the Super-Earths are in their habitable zones and one
of them may be a transiting planet. The AST, with its robotic control and ease of switching between
instruments (in seconds), enables great flexibility and efficiency, and enables an optimal strategy, in terms
of schedule and cadence, for this NIR M dwarf planet survey.
We present a new and innovative near-infrared multi-band ultraprecise spectroimager (NIMBUS) for SOFIA. This design is capable of characterizing a large sample of extrasolar planet atmospheres by measuring elemental and molecular abundances during primary transit and occultation. This wide-field spectroimager would also provide new insights into Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNO), Solar System occultations, brown dwarf atmospheres, carbon chemistry in globular clusters, chemical gradients in nearby galaxies, and galaxy photometric redshifts. NIMBUS would be the premier ultraprecise spectroimager by taking advantage of the SOFIA observatory and state of the art infrared technologies.
This optical design splits the beam into eight separate spectral bandpasses, centered around key molecular bands from 1 to 4μm. Each spectral channel has a wide field of view for simultaneous observations of a reference star that can decorrelate time-variable atmospheric and optical assembly effects, allowing the instrument to achieve ultraprecise calibration for imaging and photometry for a wide variety of astrophysical sources. NIMBUS produces the same data products as a low-resolution integral field spectrograph over a large spectral bandpass, but this design obviates many of the problems that preclude high-precision measurements with traditional slit and integral field spectrographs. This instrument concept is currently not funded for development.