State of the field: Extreme precision radial velocities

Debra A. Fischer, Guillem Anglada-Escude, Pamela Arriagada, Roman V. Baluev, Jacob L. Bean, Francois Bouchy, Lars A. Buchhave, Thorsten Carroll, Abhijit Chakraborty, Justin R. Crepp, Rebekah I. Dawson, Scott A. Diddams, Xavier Dumusque, Jason D. Eastman, Michael Endl, Pedro Figueira, Eric B. Ford, Daniel Foreman-Mackey, Paul Fournier, Gabor FűrészB. Scott Gaudi, Philip C. Gregory, Frank Grundahl, Artie P. Hatzes, Guillaume Hébrard, Enrique Herrero, David W. Hogg, Andrew W. Howard, John A. Johnson, Paul Jorden, Colby A. Jurgenson, David W. Latham, Greg Laughlin, Thomas J. Loredo, Christophe Lovis, Suvrath Mahadevan, Tyler M. McCracken, Francesco Pepe, Mario Perez, David F. Phillips, Peter P. Plavchan, Lisa Prato, Andreas Quirrenbach, Ansgar Reiners, Paul Robertson, Nuno C. Santos, David Sawyer, Damien Segransan, Alessandro Sozzetti, Tilo Steinmetz, Andrew Szentgyorgyi, Stéphane Udry, Jeff A. Valenti, Sharon X. Wang, Robert A. Wittenmyer, Jason T. Wright

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The Second Workshop on Extreme Precision Radial Velocities defined circa 2015 the state of the art Doppler precision and identified the critical path challenges for reaching 10 cm s−1 measurement precision. The presentations and discussion of key issues for instrumentation and data analysis and the workshop recommendations for achieving this bold precision are summarized here. Beginning with the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher spectrograph, technological advances for precision radial velocity (RV) measurements have focused on building extremely stable instruments. To reach still higher precision, future spectrometers will need to improve upon the state of the art, producing even higher fidelity spectra. This should be possible with improved environmental control, greater stability in the illumination of the spectrometer optics, better detectors, more precise wavelength calibration, and broader bandwidth spectra. Key data analysis challenges for the precision RV community include distinguishing center of mass (COM) Keplerian motion from photospheric velocities (time correlated noise) and the proper treatment of telluric contamination. Success here is coupled to the instrument design, but also requires the implementation of robust statistical and modeling techniques. COM velocities produce Doppler shifts that affect every line identically, while photospheric velocities produce line profile asymmetries with wavelength and temporal dependencies that are different from Keplerian signals. Exoplanets are an important subfield of astronomy and there has been an impressive rate of discovery over the past two decades. However, higher precision RV measurements are required to serve as a discovery technique for potentially habitable worlds, to confirm and characterize detections from transit missions, and to provide mass measurements for other space-based missions. The future of exoplanet science has very different trajectories depending on the precision that can ultimately be achieved with Doppler measurements.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number066001
    JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
    Issue number964
    StatePublished - Jun 2016


    • Instrumentation
    • Observational – methods
    • Radial velocities – techniques
    • Spectrographs – methods
    • Spectroscopic
    • Statistical – techniques

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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