there is a new “hunter” of planets with Portuguese DNA on the ESO 3.6 meter telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile. NIRPS (Near Infrared High Resolution Spectrograph) account with the participation of the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) and is already operational.
How do you explain Alexandre Cabral, researcher in charge of the AI Astronomy Instrumentation and Systems Teamin a statement, the AI was responsible for designing, building and testing the new planet hunter’s ADC (Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector).
The NIRPS adaptive optics system allows Simulate space-like conditions on Earthcanceling out the effects of our planet’s turbulence and increasing the accuracy of the instrument.
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The purpose of the spectrograph is to help scientists study rocky exoplanets, which are thought to be be the key to deciphering planetary formation and evolution. According to the researchers, observations made using the NIPRS could also provide clues to the composition of such planets and allow the search for signs of life in their atmospheres.
“NIRPS will allow obtain highly accurate spectra at infrared wavelengthswhich complement the data we currently collect in the visible, with spectrographs such as HARPS [High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher]at La Silla, or the ESPRESSO, on the VLT [Very Large Telescope]”, says Nuno Cardoso Santos, principal investigator of the IA Planetary Systems team.
The instrument will be used to “discover new planets around red dwarfs”, details Elisa Delgado-Mena, researcher at AI and University of Portoadding that “because they are cooler stars, they are easier to study in the infrared”.
The study of stars is another of the areas covered by this instrument, paving the “way to explore a new spectral regionwith a very relevant impact on the study of exoplanets and stellar astrophysics,” emphasizes Nuno Cardoso Santos.