A. Quirrenbach (Landessternwarte Heidelberg) and the CARMES Consortium
CARMENES, Calar Alto high-Resolution search for M dwarfs with Exo-earths with a Near-infrared Echelle Spectrograph, is a study for a next-generation instrument for the 3.5m Calar Alto Telescope to be designed, built, integrated, and operated by a consortium of nine German and Spanish institutions. Our main objective is finding habitable exoplanets around M dwarfs, which will be achieved by radial velocity measurements on the m/s level in the near-infrared, where low-mass stars emit the bulk of their radiation. CARMENES is expected to become operational in 2013.
CARMENES will cover the wavelength range from 500 to 1800 nm at a spectral resolution of 85,000 with two cross-dispersed echelle spectrographs, coupled to the telescope with optical fibers. The near-infrared spectrograph will be calibrated with the simultaneous ThAr method; our goal is to reach a radial velocity precision better than 3 m/s. The large wavelength range will allow us to monitor activity indicators (H alpha and the Ca triplet) simultaneously with the radial velocity, facilitating the discrimination between radial-velocity signals induced by planetary companions and by stellar activity. Using most of the bright time for a period of five years, CARMENES could search for planets in a sample of 300 M dwarfs.
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