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Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets

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of NIRPS The (Near-Infrared Planet Searcher) spectrograph is a recently installed instrument at the 3.6 m telescope at La Cilla, Chile, European Southern Observatory (ESO). The NIRPS concept is inspired by the SPIRou device. In fact, NIRPS, like SPIRou, can detect and characterize exoplanets around low-mass stars. speed measurement Also called radial velocity method.

An artistic representation of the red dwarf star Gliese 581 and its planets. There are at least three planets in this system discovered by HARPS. This star is one of the few red dwarfs observable by HARPS. NIRPS will enable the study of far more red dwarfs (Credit: ESO)

An important advantage of NIRPS is that it is installed on the same telescope as the HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher) instrument. For the first time, we were able to obtain radial velocity measurements with accuracy better than 1 m/s (or 3.6 km/h) using this instrument, which observes in the visible spectrum. field. The work performed at HARPS has revolutionized our understanding of planetary systems near the Sun. NIRPS can be used in parallel with HARPS to acquire data in visible and infrared light simultaneously. Teams using NIRPS therefore have access to unique capabilities for monitoring and characterizing exoplanets.

scientific purpose

Most of the stars near the solar system are low-mass stars. We don’t know all the planets they’re in port yet. NIRPS will be used to perform a systematic survey of the closest low-mass stars to the Sun and can detect Earth-like exoplanets. habitable zone of these stars. These new discoveries direct imagingand they could be among the first to be directly observed by future large telescopes. TMT When E-ELTDiscovery of an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone of our nearest neighbors, Proxima Centauriportends the discovery of many comparable planets.

NIRPS data can also be used to confirm and characterize exoplanets found by transit methods. In fact, this method can identify a planet and find out its radius and orbital period, but not its mass. Radial velocity data from NIRPS is Tess For example, to estimate satellite density and limit composition.

collaboration partner

The team closes down the cryogenic chamber in the laboratory of the Center d’optique-photonique et laser at Laval University on July 31, 2020. Left to right: Lison Malo (iREx, OMM, UdeM), Anne-Sophie Poulin-Girard (COPL, ULaval), Hugues Auger (COPL, ULaval), Philippe Vallée (OMM, UdeM). (Credit: Lisson Malo)

Following the success of SPIRou, iREx Canadian Innovation Foundation Participate in the design and construction of NIRPS. The development of this device is part of a large international collaboration involving iREx. Center Optic, Photonic, Laser of Laval University Geneva Observatory in Switzerland, University of Grenoble in France, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in Spain, NRC Hertzberg Institute for Astrophysics in Canada, University of Porto in Portugal, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil.

NIRPS and iREx

Recognizing the strategic importance of the NIRPS-HARPS duo, ESO granted the NIRPS team, which includes several iREx researchers, 740 observation nights distributed over a period of five years. One of his two principal investigators at NIRPS is our director. Rene DoyoungIn addition, project scientists Etienne Altigaultone of the researchers working on the project is Jonathan Saint Antoinethe project manager is Rison Maro,support Frederick Baron.

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