The Replicable High-resolution Exoplanet and Asteroseismology (RHEA) spectrograph is being developed to serve as a basis for multiple copies across a network of small robotic telescopes. The spectrograph operates at the diffraction-limit by using a single-mode fiber input, resulting in a compact and modal-noise-free unit. The optical design is mainly based on off-the-shelf available components and comprises a near-Littrow configuration with prism cross-disperser. The échelle format covers a wavelength range of 430-650 nm at R=75,000 resolving power. In this paper we briefly summarize the current status of the instrument and present preliminary results from the first on-sky demonstration of the prototype using a fully automated 16" telescope, where we observe stable and semi-variable stars up to V=3.5 magnitude. Future steps to enhance the efficiency and passive stability of RHEA are discussed in detail. For example, we show the concept of using a multi-fiber injection unit, akin to a photonic lantern, which not only enables increased throughput but also offers simultaneous wavelength calibration.
The RHEA Spectrograph is a single-mode echelle spectrograph designed to be a replicable and cost effective method of undertaking precision radial velocity measurements. Two versions of RHEA currently exist, one located at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia (450 - 600nm wavelength range), and another located at the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, USA (600 - 800 nm wavelength range). Both instruments have a novel fibre feed consisting of an integral field unit injecting light into a 2D grid of single mode fibres. This grid of fibres is then reformatted into a 1D array at the input of the spectrograph (consisting of the science fibres and a reference fibre capable of receiving a white-light or xenon reference source for simultaneous calibration). The use of single mode fibres frees RHEA from the issue of modal noise and significantly reduces the size of the optics used. In addition to increasing the overall light throughput of the system, the integral field unit allows for cutting edge science goals to be achieved when operating behind the 8.2m Subaru Telescope and the SCExAO adaptive optics system. These include, but are not limited to: resolved stellar photospheres; resolved protoplanetary disk structures; resolved Mira shocks, dust and winds; and sub-arcsecond companions. We present details and results of early tests of RHEA@Subaru and progress towards the stated science goals.
SCExAO is the premier high-contrast imaging platform for the Subaru Telescope. It offers high Strehl ratios at near-IR wavelengths (y-K band) with stable pointing and coronagraphs with extremely small inner working angles, optimized for imaging faint companions very close to the host. In the visible, it has several interferometric imagers which offer polarimetric and spectroscopic capabilities. A recent addition is the RHEA spectrograph enabling spatially resolved high resolution spectroscopy of the surfaces of giant stars, for example. New capabilities on the horizon include post-coronagraphic spectroscopy, spectral differential imaging, nulling interferometry as well as an integral field spectrograph and an MKID array. Here we present the new modules of SCExAO, give an overview of the current commissioning status of each of the modules and present preliminary results.
We present a stable, inexpensive wavelength reference, based on a white-light interferometer for the use on current and future (arrays of) diffraction-limited radial velocity (RV) spectrographs. The primary aim of using an interferometer is to obtain a dense sinusoidal wavelength reference with spectral coverage between 450-650 nm. Its basic setup consists of an unbalanced fiber Mach-Zehnder interferometer (FMZI) that creates an interference pattern in the spectral domain due to superposition of phase delayed light, set by a fixed optical path-length difference (OPD). To achieve long-term stability, the interferometer is actively locked to a stable atomic line. The system operates in closed-loop using a thermo-optic modulator as the phase feedback component. We conducted stability measurements by superimposing the wavelength reference with thorium-argon (ThAr) emission lines
and found the differential RMS shift to be ~5 m s-1 within 30 minute bins in an experiment lasting 5 hours.
We present the opto-mechanical design and the characterization of the Replicable High-resolution Exoplanet and Asteroseismology (RHEA) spectrograph. RHEA is an ultra-compact fiber-fed echelle spectrograph designed to be used at 0.2-0.4 m class robotic telescopes where long term dedicated projects are possible. The instrument will be primarily used for radial velocity (RV) studies of low to intermediate-mass giant stars for the purpose of searching for hot Jupiters and using asteroseismology to simultaneously measure the host star parameters and de-correlate stellar pulsations. The optical design comprises a double-pass (i.e. near Littrow) configuration with
prism cross-disperser and single-mode fiber (SMF) input. The spectrograph has a resolving power of R>70,000 and operates at 430–670 nm with minimum order separation of ~180 μm. This separation allows a 1x6 photonic
lantern integration at a later stage which is currently under development. The current design is built with the aim of creating an inexpensive and replicable unit. The spectrograph is optimised for long-baseline RV observations through careful temperature stabilisation and simultaneous wavelength calibration. As a further improvement the echelle grating is housed in a vacuum chamber to maintain pressure stability. The performance of the current prototype is currently being tested on a 0.4 m telescope at the Macquarie University Observatory.