Image credit: NOAO/AURA/NSF

NASA selects two teams for high precision radial velocity spectrometer study on Kitt Peak

Kitt Peak National Observatory is the future home of a state-of-the-art instrument that will be used to detect and characterize other worlds. The new instrument, an extreme precision radial velocity spectrometer, will measure the subtle motion of stars produced by their orbiting planets. The spectrometer, funded by NASA, will be deployed on an existing telescope at Kitt Peak, the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope. The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), which is funded by NSF, is a partner in the telescope and operates Kitt Peak.

NASA has announced the selection of two teams whose designs will be studied and compared over the next six months: Exoplanet Exploration: News & Announcements

The new spectrometer is expected to play a critical role in characterizing high-priority exoplanet targets identified by current and future NASA missions, in particular Kepler, K2, and TESS. The Kepler mission has found more than 1000 confirmed exoplanets and more than 3000 unconfirmed planet candidates to date. K2, Kepler’s extended mission survey of selected fields in the ecliptic plane, is currently underway. The future Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will conduct an all-sky survey of transiting exoplanet systems around relatively bright and nearby stars.

More information about this instrument and the NN-EXPLORE program can be found in NOAO Press Release 15-02 and Exoplanet Exploration:

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