Measuring stellar radial velocities with a dispersed fixed-delay interferometer

Suvrath Mahadevan, Julian Van Eyken, Jian Ge, Curtis DeWitt, Scott W. Fleming, Roger Cohen, Justin Crepp, Andrew Vanden Heuvel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We demonstrate the ability to measure precise stellar barycentric radial velocities with the dispersed fixed-delay interferometer technique using the Exoplanet Tracker (ET), an instrument primarily designed for precision differential Doppler velocity measurements using this technique. Our barycentric radial velocities, derived from observations taken at the KPNO 2.1 m telescope, differ from those of Nidever et al. by 0.047 km s-1 (rms) when simultaneous iodine calibration is used, and by 0.120 km s_1 (rms) without simultaneous iodine calibration. Our results effectively show that a Michelson interferometer coupled to a spectrograph allows precise measurements of barycentric radial velocities even at a modest spectral resolution of R ∼ 5100. A multiobject version of the ET instrument capable of observing ∼500 stars per night is being used at the Sloan 2.5 m telescope at Apache Point Observatory for the Multiobject APO Radial Velocity Exoplanet Large-area Survey ( MARVELS), a wide-field radial velocity survey for extrasolar planets around TYCHO-2 stars in the magnitude range 1.6 < V < 12. In addition to precise differential velocities, this survey will also yield precise barycentric radial velocities for many thousands of stars using the data analysis techniques reported here. Such a large kinematic survey at high velocity precision will be useful in identifying the signature of accretion events in the Milky Way and understanding local stellar kinematics, in addition to discovering exoplanets, brown dwarfs, and spectroscopic binaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1505-1510
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 10 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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