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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

ESPRESSO: The next European exoplanet hunter

F. Pepe, P. Molaro, S. Cristiani, R. Rebolo López, N. C. Santos, H. Dekker, D. Mégevand, F. M. Zerbi, A. Cabral, P. Di Marcantonio, M. Abreu, M. Affolter, M. Aliverti, C. Allende Prieto, M. Amate, G. Avila, V. Baldini, P. Bristow, C. Broeg, R. Cirami, J. Coelho, P. Conconi, I. Coretti, G. Cupani, V. D'Odorico, V. De Caprio, B. Delabre, R. Dorn, P. Figueira, A. Fragoso, S. Galeotta, L. Genolet, R. Gomes, J. I. González Hernández, I. Hughes, O. Iwert, F. Kerber, M. Landoni, J.-L. Lizon, C. Lovis, C. Maire, M. Mannetta, C. J. A. P. Martins, M. A. Monteiro, A. Oliveira, E. Poretti, J. L. Rasilla, M. Riva, S. Santana Tschudi, P. Santos, D. Sosnowska, S. G. Sousa, P. Spanò, F. Tenegi, G. Toso, E. Vanzella, M. Viel, M. R. Zapatero-Osorio

The acronym ESPRESSO stems for Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations; this instrument will be the next VLT high resolution spectrograph. The spectrograph will be installed at the Combined-Coudé Laboratory of the VLT and linked to the four 8.2m Unit Telescopes (UT) through four optical Coudé trains. ESPRESSO will combine efficiency and extreme spectroscopic precision. ESPRESSO is foreseen to achieve a gain of two magnitudes with respect to its predecessor HARPS, and to improve the instrumental radial-velocity precision to reach the 10 cm s-1 level. It can be operated either with a single UT or with up to four UTs, enabling an additional gain in the latter mode. The incoherent combination of four telescopes and the extreme precision requirements called for many innovative design solutions while ensuring the technical heritage of the successful HARPS experience. ESPRESSO will allow to explore new frontiers in most domains of astrophysics that require precision and sensitivity. The main scientific drivers are the search and characterization of rocky exoplanets in the habitable zone of quiet, nearby G to M-dwarfs and the analysis of the variability of fundamental physical constants. The project passed the final design review in May 2013 and entered the manufacturing phase. ESPRESSO will be installed at the Paranal Observatory in 2016 and its operation is planned to start by the end of the same year.

instrumentation: spectrographs – plantary systems – techniques: spectroscopic

Astronomische Nachrichten
Volume 335, Page 8
January 2014

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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