Precise stellar radial velocities of an m dwarf with a Michelson interferometer and a medium-resolution near-infrared spectrograph

Philip S. Muirhead, Jerry Edelstein, David J. Erskine, Jason T. Wright, Matthew W. Muterspaugh, Kevin R. Covey, Edward H. Wishnow, Katherine Hamren, Phillip Andelson, David Kimber, Tony Mercer, Samuel P. Halverson, Andrew Vanderburg, Daniel Mondo, Agnieszka Czeszumska, JAMES P. LLOYD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Precise near-infrared radial velocimetry enables efficient detection and transit verification of lowmass extrasolar planets orbiting M-dwarf hosts, which are faint for visible-wavelength radial velocity surveys. The TripleSpec Exoplanet Discovery Instrument (TEDI) is the combination of a variable-delay Michelson interferometer and a medium-resolution (R 1/4 2700) near-infrared spectrograph on the Palomar 200 inch (5 m) Hale Telescope.We used TEDI to monitor GJ 699, a nearby mid-M dwarf, over 11 nights spread across 3 months. Analysis of 106 independent observations reveals a root-mean-squared precision of less than 37 ms-1 for 5 minutes of integration time. This performance is within a factor of 2 of our expected photon-limited precision. We further decompose the residuals into a 33 ms-1 white noise component and a 15 ms-1 systematic noise component, which we identify as being likely due to contamination by telluric absorption lines. With further development this technique holds promise for broad implementation on medium-resolution near-infrared spectrographs to search for low-mass exoplanets orbiting M dwarfs and to verify low-mass transit candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-724
Number of pages16
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number904
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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