Towards the detection of exoearths

CARMENES [kár-men-es] (Calar Alto high-Resolution search for M dwarfs with Exoearths with Near-infrared and optical Échelle Spectrographs) is a next-generation instrument being built for the 3.5m telescope at the Calar Alto Observatory by a consortium of German and Spanish institutions. It consists of two separated spectrographs covering the wavelength ranges from 0.5 to 1.0 µm and from 1.0 to 1.7 µm with spectral resolutions R = 82,000, each of which shall perform high-accuracy radial-velocity measurements (∼1 m s-1) with long-term stability. The fundamental science objective of CARMENES is to carry out a survey of ∼300 late-type main-sequence stars with the goal of detecting low-mass planets in their habitable zones. We aim at being able to detect 2 MEarth planets in the habitable zone of M5V stars. The CARMENES first light is expected to occur in Summer 2015.

Time-lapse of the installation of the CARMENES front-end at the Cassegrain focus of the 3.5 m telescope during the first commissioning run in Calar Alto (29 Apr) • NIR-channel forward-simulated spectra of a Fabry-Pérot etalon and a U-Ne hollow-cathode lamp (03 Apr) • A customized "CARMENES" four-port long-cable USB hub (12 Mar) • Front-end being tested (06 Mar) • VIS channel initial alignment completed (25 Feb) • CARMENES CMT visit to IAA and CARMENES lab (11 Feb) • Read more news or see more pictures