Barycentric corrections at 1 cm s-1 for precise doppler velocities

J. T. Wright, J. D. Eastman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


The goal of this paper is to establish the requirements of a barycentric correction with an rms of ≲1 cm s-1, which is an order of magnitude better than necessary for the Doppler detection of true Earth analogs (∼9 cm s-1). We describe the theory and implementation of accounting for the effects on precise Doppler measurements of motion of the telescope through space, primarily from rotational and orbital motion of the Earth, and the motion of the solar system with respect to target star (i.e., the “barycentric correction"). We describe the minimal algorithm necessary to accomplish this and how it differs from a naïve subtraction of velocities (i.e., a Galilean transformation). We demonstrate the validity of code we have developed from the California Planet Survey code via comparison with the pulsar timing package, TEMPO2. We estimate the magnitude of various terms and effects, including relativistic effects, and the errors associated with incomplete knowledge of telescope position, timing, and stellar position and motion. We note that chromatic aberration will create uncertainties in the time of observation, which will complicate efforts to detect true Earth analogs. Our code is available for public use and validation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-852
Number of pages15
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number943
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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