Theses Doctoral

PARVI: The Little Spectrograph That Could

Gibson, Rose Katharine

Measuring periodic changes in the line-of-sight velocities of stars via spectroscopy (the “radial velocity technique”) is a well-established method to detect planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. As those distant stars orbit their system’s center of mass the radial velocity technique confirms that companions exist and allows for the measurement of fundamental parameters: companion masses, orbital characteristics, and, in some cases, aspects of atmospheric chemistry. Until recently Doppler spectrometers have been limited to detecting radial velocity signals of larger than one meter-per-second, a constraint that significantly hinders our discovery and characterization of small rocky worlds similar to our own. This is the motivation for developing instruments sensitive to extremely precise radial velocities (EPRVs, ??? < 1ms−1). This dissertation describes critical aspects of the development of one such spectrometer: the Palomar Radial Velocity Instrument (PARVI).Chapter 2 presents the characterization of the fine-guiding camera used in the fiber injection unit that couples light from Palomar’s extreme adaptive optics to the spectrograph’s single-mode fiber feed.

Chapter 3 describes the data acquisition and data reduction pipelines for PARVI. It includes the methodology for acquiring data with a Teledyne H2RG array, the description of the wavelength calibration using a laser frequency comb, and the process for reducing the 2D echellogram down to a 1D spectrum.

Chapter 4 reveals the discovery of a new and significant, polarization-dependent, instrument noise and a warning for those considering using single-mode fibers for high resolution spectroscopy. Chapter 5 contains the first results from PARVI commissioning data. This includes the detection of the Rossiter-Mclaughlin signal of the transiting planet HD 189733 b, and presence of water and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere of HD 189733 b via transmission spectroscopy.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Oppenheimer, Rebecca
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 8, 2023