We present spectrograph design details and initial radial velocity results from the PRL optical fiber-fed high-resolution cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph (PARAS), which has recently been commissioned at the Mount Abu 1.2 m telescope in India. Data obtained as part of the postcommissioning tests with PARAS show velocity precision better than 2 m s-1 over a period of several months on bright RV standard stars. For observations of σ Dra, we report 1.7 m s-1 precision for a period of 7 months, and for HD 9407, we report 2.1 m s-1 over a period of 2 months. PARAS is capable of single-shot spectral coverage of 3800-9500 Å at a resolution of ~67,000. The RV results were obtained between 3800 and 6900 Å using simultaneous wavelength calibration with a thorium-argon (ThAr) hollow cathode lamp. The spectrograph is maintained under stable conditions of temperature with a precision of 0.01-0.02° C (rms) at 25.55° C and is enclosed in a vacuum vessel at pressure of 0.1 ± 0.03 mbar. The blaze peak efficiency of the spectrograph between 5000 and 6500 Å, including the detector, is ~30%; it is ~25% with the fiber transmission. The total efficiency, including spectrograph, fiber transmission, focal ratio degradation (FRD), and telescope (with 81% reflectivity) is ~7% in the same wavelength region on a clear night with good seeing conditions. The stable point-spread function (PSF), environmental control, existence of a simultaneous calibration fiber, and availability of observing time make PARAS attractive for a variety of exoplanetary and stellar astrophysics projects. Future plans include testing of octagonal fibers for further scrambling of light and extensive calibration over the entire wavelength range up to 9500 Å using thorium-neon (ThNe) or uranium-neon (UNe) spectral lamps. Thus, we demonstrate how such highly stabilized instruments, even on small aperture telescopes, can contribute significantly to the ongoing radial velocity searches for low-mass planets around bright stars.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific|
|State||Published - Feb 2014|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science