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19 August 2009 Calibration of high accuracy radial velocity spectrographs: beyond the Th-Ar lamps
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Abstract
Since its first light in 2003, the HARPS radial velocity spectrograph (RVS) has performed exquisitely well on the 3.6m ESO telescope at La Silla Observatory (Chile). It now routinely exhibits a measurement noise of 0.5 m/s or 1.7 10-9 on a relative scale. Despite innovative work by Lovis and colleagues [14] to improve the accuracy obtained with the calibration lamps used, there is evidence that still better performance could be achieved by using more stable wavelength standards. In this paper, we present two methods are aim at overcoming the shortcoming of present day calibrators and that could satisfy the need for a cm/s -level calibrator like we are planning on using on the 2nd generation instruments at the VLT and on the ELT instrumentation. A temperature-stabilized Fabry-Perot interferometer has the promise of being stable to a few cm/s and has very uniform line levels and spacings, while a laser comb has already achieved a precision better than 15 cm/s, despite using only one of the 72 orders of the spectrographs.
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Francois Wildi, Francesco Pepe, Christophe Lovis, Bruno Chazelas, Tobias Wilken, Antonio Manescau, Luca Pasquini, Ronald Holzwarth, Tilo Stenimetz, Thomas Udem, Theodor Hänsch, and Gaspare Lo Curto "Calibration of high accuracy radial velocity spectrographs: beyond the Th-Ar lamps", Proc. SPIE 7440, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets IV, 74400M (19 August 2009); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.826498
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