This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. Please help improve it to make it understandable to non-experts, without removing the technical details. (October 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
ESPRESSO (Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet- and Stable Spectroscopic Observations)is a third-generation, fiber fed, cross-dispersed, echelle spectrograph mounted on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT). The unit saw its first light on September 25, 2016.
An optical fiber is a flexible, transparent fiber made by drawing glass (silica) or plastic to a diameter slightly thicker than that of a human hair. Optical fibers are used most often as a means to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber and find wide usage in fiber-optic communications, where they permit transmission over longer distances and at higher bandwidths than electrical cables. Fibers are used instead of metal wires because signals travel along them with less loss; in addition, fibers are immune to electromagnetic interference, a problem from which metal wires suffer excessively. Fibers are also used for illumination and imaging, and are often wrapped in bundles so they may be used to carry light into, or images out of confined spaces, as in the case of a fiberscope. Specially designed fibers are also used for a variety of other applications, some of them being fiber optic sensors and fiber lasers.
An echelle grating is a type of diffraction grating characterised by a relatively low groove density, but a groove shape which is optimized for use at high incidence angles and therefore in high diffraction orders. Higher diffraction orders allow for increased dispersion (spacing) of spectral features at the detector, enabling increased differentiation of these features. Echelle gratings are, like other types of diffraction gratings, used in spectrometers and similar instruments. They are most useful in cross-dispersed high resolution spectrographs, such as HARPS, PRL Advanced Radial Velocity Abu Sky Search (PARAS), and numerous other astronomical instruments.
The European Southern Observatory (ESO), formally the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, is a 16-nation intergovernmental research organization for ground-based astronomy. Created in 1962, ESO has provided astronomers with state-of-the-art research facilities and access to the southern sky. The organisation employs about 730 staff members and receives annual member state contributions of approximately €162 million. Its observatories are located in northern Chile.
ESPRESSO is the successor of a line of echelle spectrometers that include CORAVEL, Elodie, Coralie, and HARPS. It measures changes in the light spectrum with great sensitivity, and will be used to search for Earth-size rocky exoplanets via the radial velocity method. For example, Earth induces a radial-velocity variation of 9 cm/s on the Sun; this gravitational "wobble" causes minute variations in the color of sunlight, invisible to the human eye but detectable by the instrument. The telescope light is fed to the instrument, located in the VLT Combined-Coude Laboratory 70 meters away from the telescope, where the light from up to four unit telescopes of the VLT can be combined. The Principal Investigator is Francesco Pepe.
The High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) is a high-precision echelle planet-finding spectrograph installed in 2002 on the ESO's 3.6m telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile. The first light was achieved in February 2003. HARPS has discovered over 130 exoplanets to date, with the first one in 2004, making it the most successful planet finder behind the Kepler space observatory. It is a second-generation radial-velocity spectrograph, based on experience with the ELODIE and CORALIE instruments.
The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and their respective wavelengths and photon energies.
A terrestrial planet, telluric planet, or rocky planet is a planet that is composed primarily of silicate rocks or metals. Within the Solar System, the terrestrial planets are the inner planets closest to the Sun, i.e. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. The terms "terrestrial planet" and "telluric planet" are derived from Latin words for Earth, as these planets are, in terms of structure, "Earth-like". These planets are located between the Sun and the Asteroid Belt.
ESPRESSO will build on the foundations laid by the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument at the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. ESPRESSO will benefit not only from the much larger combined light-collecting capacity of the four 8.2-metre VLT Unit Telescopes, but also from improvements in the stability and calibration accuracy that are now possible by laser frequency comb technology. The requirement is to reach 10 cm/s, but the aimed goal is to obtain a precision level of a few cm/s. This would mean a large step forward over current radial-velocity spectrographs like ESO's HARPS. The HARPS instrument can attain a precision of 97 cm/s (3.5 km/h), with an effective precision of the order of 30 cm/s, making it one of only two spectrographs worldwide with such accuracy.[ citation needed ] The ESPRESSO would greatly exceed this capability making detection of Earth-size planets from ground-based instruments possible. Commissioning of ESPRESSO at the VLT started late 2017.
La Silla Observatory is an astronomical observatory in Chile with three telescopes built and operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Several other telescopes are located at the site and are partly maintained by ESO. The observatory is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and was the first in Chile to be used by ESO.
In optics, a frequency comb is a laser source whose spectrum consists of a series of discrete, equally spaced frequency lines. Frequency combs can be generated by a number of mechanisms, including periodic modulation of a continuous-wave laser, four-wave mixing in nonlinear media, or stabilization of the pulse train generated by a mode-locked laser. Much work has been devoted to the latter mechanism, which was developed around the turn of the 21st century and ultimately led to one half of the Nobel Prize in Physics being shared by John L. Hall and Theodor W. Hänsch in 2005.
The instrument is capable of operating in 1-UT mode (using one of the telescopes) and in 4-UT mode. In 4-UT mode, in which all the four 8-m telescopes are connected incoherently to form a 16-m equivalent telescope, the spectrograph will detect extremely faint objects.
For example, for G2V type stars:
ESPRESSO will focus the observations on the best-suited candidates: non-active, non-rotating, quiet G dwarfs to red dwarfs. It will operate at the peak of its efficiency for a spectral type up to M4-type stars.
A G-type main-sequence star, often called a yellow dwarf, or G dwarf star, is a main-sequence star of spectral type G. Such a star has about 0.84 to 1.15 solar masses and surface temperature of between 5,300 and 6,000 K., Tables VII, VIII. Like other main-sequence stars, a G-type main-sequence star is converting the element hydrogen to helium in its core by means of nuclear fusion. The Sun, the star to which the Earth is gravitationally bound in the Solar System and the object with the largest apparent magnitude, is an example of a G-type main-sequence star. Each second, the Sun fuses approximately 600 million tons of hydrogen to helium, converting about 4 million tons of matter to energy. Besides the Sun, other well-known examples of G-type main-sequence stars include Alpha Centauri A, Tau Ceti, and 51 Pegasi.
A red dwarf is a small and cool star on the main sequence, of M spectral type. Red dwarfs range in mass from about 0.075 to about 0.50 solar mass and have a surface temperature of less than 4,000 K. Sometimes K-type main-sequence stars, with masses between 0.50-0.8 solar mass, are also included.
ESPRESSO will use as calibration a laser frequency comb (LFC), with backup of two Th Ar lamps. It will have three instrumental modes: singleHR, singleUHR and multiMR. In the singleHR mode ESPRESSO can be fed by any of the four UTs.
All design work was completed and finalised by April 2013, with the manufacturing phase of the project commencing thereafter.ESPRESSO was tested on June 3, 2016. ESPRESSO first light occurred on September 25, 2016, during which they spotted various objects, among them the star 60 Sgr A. After being shipped to Chile, installed at the VLT, ESPRESSO saw its first light there on 27 November 2017, in 1-UT mode, observing the star Tau Ceti; the first star observed in the 4-UT mode was on February 3, 2018.
ESPRESSO in the 1-UT mode (one single telescope used) has been opened to the astronomical community and producing scientific data since October 24, 2018. On quiet stars it has already demonstrated radial-velocity precision of 25 cm/s over a full night. However, there have been some teething problems, for example, in light collecting efficiency which was around 30% lower than expected and required. And so, some fine tuning, including replacing the parts causing the efficiency problem and subsequent re-testing, will be made on the instrument before the full 4-UT mode is open to the scientific community in April 2019.
The main scientific objectives for ESPRESSO are:
ESPRESSO is being developed by a consortium consisting on the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and seven scientific institutes:
|Sky aperture||4 arcsec|
|λ coverage||380 nm-686 nm|
|λ precision||5 m/s|
|RV stability||< 10 cm/s|
|4-VLT mode (D = 16 m) with RV = 1 m/s|
|Planet Mass||Distance |
|Radial velocity |
|Super-Earth (5 M⊕)||0.1||1.4 m/s|
|Alpha Centauri Bb (1.13 ± 0.09 M⊕)||0.04||0.51 m/s||(1 )|
|Super-Earth (5 M⊕)||1||0.45 m/s|
|Source: Luca Pasquini, power-point presentation, 2009 Notes: (1) Most precise vradial measurements ever recorded. ESO's HARPS spectrograph was used.|
|Planet||Planet Type ||Semimajor Axis |
|Orbital Period || Radial velocity |
|51 Pegasi b||Hot Jupiter||0.05||4.23 days||55.9||First-generation spectrograph|
|55 Cancri d||Gas giant||5.77||14.29 years||45.2||First-generation spectrograph|
|Jupiter||Gas giant||5.20||11.86 years||12.4||First-generation spectrograph|
|Gliese 581c||Super-Earth||0.07||12.92 days||3.18||Second-generation spectrograph|
|Saturn||Gas giant||9.58||29.46 years||2.75||Second-generation spectrograph|
|Proxima Centauri b||Habitable planet (potentially)||0.05||11.19 days||1.38||Second-generation spectrograph|
|Alpha Centauri Bb||Terrestrial planet||0.04||3.23 days||0.510||Second-generation spectrograph|
|Neptune||Ice giant||30.10||164.79 years||0.281||Third-generation spectrograph|
|Earth||Habitable planet||1.00||365.26 days||0.089||Third-generation spectrograph (likely)|
|Pluto||Dwarf planet||39.26||246.04 years||0.00003||Not detectable|
|Type|| RHAB |
| RV |
| Period |
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to ESPRESSO .|
The Very Large Telescope (VLT) is a telescope facility operated by the European Southern Observatory on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The VLT consists of four individual telescopes, each with a primary mirror 8.2 m across, which are generally used separately but can be used together to achieve very high angular resolution. The four separate optical telescopes are known as Antu, Kueyen, Melipal, and Yepun, which are all words for astronomical objects in the Mapuche language. The telescopes form an array which is complemented by four movable Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) of 1.8 m aperture.
The ESO 3.6 m Telescope is an optical reflecting telescope run by the European Southern Observatory at La Silla Observatory, Chile since 1977, with a clear aperture of about 3.6 metres (140 in) and 8.6 m2 (93 sq ft) area.
The Automated Planet Finder Telescope (APF) a.k.a. Rocky Planet Finder, is a fully robotic 2.4-meter optical telescope at Lick Observatory, situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California, USA. It is designed to search for extrasolar planets in the range of five to twenty times the mass of the Earth. The instrument will examine about 10 stars per night. Over the span of a decade, the telescope is expected to study 1,000 nearby stars for planets. Its estimated cost was $10 million. The total cost-to-completion of the APF project was $12.37 million. First light was originally scheduled for 2006, but delays in the construction of the major components of the telescope pushed this back to August 2013. It was commissioned in August 2013.
Stéphane Udry is an astronomer at the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland, whose current work is primarily the search for extra-solar planets. He and his team, in 2007, discovered a possibly terrestrial planet in the habitable zone of the Gliese 581 planetary system, approximately 20 light years away in the constellation Libra. He also led the observational team that discovered HD 85512 b, another most promisingly habitable exoplanet.
Doppler spectroscopy is an indirect method for finding extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs from radial-velocity measurements via observation of Doppler shifts in the spectrum of the planet's parent star.
Leonhard Euler Telescope, or the Swiss EULER Telescope, is a national, fully automatic 1.2-metre (3.9 ft) reflecting telescope, built and operated by the Geneva Observatory. It is located at an altitude of 2,375 m (7,792 ft) at ESO's La Silla Observatory site in the Chilean Norte Chico region, about 460 kilometers north of Santiago de Chile. The telescope, which saw its first light on 12 April 1998, is named after Swiss mathematician Leonhard Paul Euler.
The SOPHIEéchelle spectrograph is a high-resolution echelle spectrograph installed on the 1.93m reflector telescope at the Haute-Provence Observatory located in south-eastern France. The purpose of this instrument is asteroseismology and extrasolar planet detection by the radial velocity method. It builds upon and replaces the older ELODIE spectrograph. This instrument was made available for use by the general astronomical community October 2006.
An integral field spectrograph, or a spectrograph equipped with an integral field unit (IFU), is an optical instrument combining spectrographic and imaging capabilities, used to obtain spatially resolved spectra in astronomy and other fields of research such as bio-medical science and earth observation.
The Fiber-Optic Improved Next-Generation Doppler Search for Exo-Earths is a radial-velocity spectrograph developed by Debra Fischer. It is installed on the 3 meter telescope in Lick Observatory in Mount Hamilton. It has been in operation since 2009 and is being used to verify exoplanet candidates found by Kepler.
HARPS-N, the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher for the Northern hemisphere is a high-precision radial-velocity spectrograph, installed at the Italian Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, a 3.58-metre telescope located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.
The Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) is a ground-based robotic search for exoplanets. The facility is located at Paranal Observatory in the Atacama desert in northern Chile, about 2 km from ESO's Very Large Telescope and 0.5 km from the VISTA Survey Telescope. Science operations began in early 2015. The astronomical survey is managed by a consortium of seven European universities and other academic institutions from Chile, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Prototypes of the array were tested in 2009 and 2010 on La Palma, and from 2012 to 2014 at Geneva Observatory.
Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (VLT-SPHERE) is an adaptive optics system and coronagraphic facility at the Very Large Telescope (VLT). It provides direct imaging as well as spectroscopic and polarimetric characterization of exoplanet systems. The instrument operates in the visible and near infrared, achieving, albeit over a limited field of view, superior image quality and contrast for bright targets.
The Visible Multi-Object Spectrograph (VIMOS) is a wide field imager and a multi-object spectrograph installed at the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT), in Chile. The instrument used for deep astronomical surveys delivers visible images and spectra of up to 1,000 galaxies at a time.
The MINiature Exoplanet Radial Velocity Array (MINERVA) is a ground-based robotic dedicated exoplanet observatory. The facility is an array of small-aperture robotic telescopes outfitted for both photometry and high-resolution Doppler spectroscopy located at the U.S. Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory at Mt. Hopkins, Arizona. The project's principal investigator is the American astronomer John Johnson. The telescopes were manufactured by PlaneWave Instruments.
The EXtreme PREcision Spectrograph (EXPRES) is an optical fiber fed echelle instrument designed and built at the Yale Exoplanet Laboratory to be installed on the 4.3-meter Discovery Channel Telescope operated by Lowell Observatory. It has a goal to achieve 10 cm/s radial velocity precision. It uses a laser frequency comb (LFC) to calibrate the primary wavelength for EXPRES.
MINERVA-Australis is a forthcoming dedicated exoplanet observatory, under construction at the University of Southern Queensland, in Queensland, Australia. The facility is being built at USQ's Mt. Kent Observatory, with first light due in quarter two 2018.
The first observation was for the star Tau Ceti. It was done using the UT1 of the VLT, the observations made on the four united telescopes will be done later.
... first light of ESPRESSO with the four VLT 8.2-meter Unit Telescopes (4UT mode) took place on Saturday February 3rd, 2018... star observed by ESPRESSO with the 4UT mode was the so-called Pepe star
ESPRESSO has been opened to the astronomical community and finally started operations on the 24th of October 2018.