"The PHARAOH project aims the detection of exo-Planets via High-Accuracy Radial-velocity spectrographic measurements with Adaptive Optics enHancement. The chief objective of this proposal is therefore to assess the impact of adaptive-optics (AO) correction on the detectability of Earth-like planets with a high-resolution, high-stability spectrograph on the future European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).
Since the discovery of planet 51 Peg b by M. Mayor and D. Queloz, huge progress has been made in the detection and characterisation of extra-solar planets. The increasing instrumental precision (in particular in the Doppler radial velocity (RV) domain) has raised the detection efficiency and allowed the scientific community to discover in 2004 the first ‘Neptune-mass planet’. The goal with the next generation spectrographs is to be able to detect rocky planets on current telescopes and Earth-like planets with the E-ELT. For that end an outstanding RV precision of 1 cm/s is required to detect the wobble of harbouring stars caused by a revolving planet. Embedding AO in actual instruments can further increase their precision in RV and their efficiency.
For this fellowship, 3 work-packages were identified with scientific and management objectives: 1) AO simulations of the E-ELT, 2) impact of AO on spectrographic resolution and 3) implementation of instrumentation-directed activities at the host institute. All packages will be developed in strong collaboration with the exo-planet and instrumentation communities, in particular those with which the host presently partners internationally: the ESPRESSO spectrograph for the Very Large Telescope and ESA’s PLATO mission.
Through a pondered choice of training and transfer-of-knowledge actions together with an exciting scientific project, the fellow will increase the prospect of gaining a mature position in state-of-the-art research and thereupon benefit the European Research Area."
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