High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher


High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher

The High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) is a high-precision echelle spectrograph installed in 2002 on ESO's 3.6m telescope at La Silla Observatory, with first light achieved February 2003. It is a second-generation radial-velocity spectrograph, based on experience with the ELODIE and CORALIE instruments.

It can attain a precision of 1 m/s, one of only two instruments worldwide with such accuracy, thanks to a design in which the target star and a reference spectrum from a thorium lamp are observed simultaneously using two identical optic fibre feeds, and to very great attention to mechanical stability: the instrument sits in a vacuum vessel which is temperature-controlled to within 0.01C. The precision and sensitivity of the instrument is such that it incidentally produced the best-available measurement of the thorium spectrum. Planet-detection is in some cases limited by the pulsations of the star observed rather than by the instrument.

The principal investigator on HARPS is Michel Mayor, who works on it with Didier Queloz. The recent discovery of planet Gliese 581 c, the most likely candidate for extraterrestrial life currently identified, was made by Stéphane Udry of the Geneva Observatory.

It was initially used for a survey of a thousand stars.

List of discoveries

* HD 330075 b, on February 10, 2004.
* Mu Arae c, on August 25, 2004.
* Gliese 876 d, on June 13, 2005
* HD 93083 b, in 2005
* HD 101930 b, in 2005
* HD 102117 b, in 2005
* HD 4308 b, in 2005
* HD 69830 b, on May 18, 2006.
* HD 69830 c, on May 18, 2006.
* HD 69830 d, on May 18, 2006.
* Gliese 581 c, on April 23, 2007.
* Gliese 581 d, on April 23, 2007.
* HD 40307 b, in June 2008.
* HD 40307 c, in June 2008.
* HD 40307 d, in June 2008.

External links

* [http://www.ls.eso.org/lasilla/sciops/3p6/harps/ HARPS Home Page]
* [http://www.ls.eso.org/lasilla/sciops/3p6/harps/Papers/6269-25.pdf The Exoplanet Hunter HARPS: unequalled accuracy and perspectives towards 1cm/s precision] - contains list of discoveries from 2005 survey.


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