Project Number: 0923441 Contact Principal Investigator Debra, Fischer
Title: MRI: Development of Chiron: CTIO High Resolution Spectrometer Awardee Organization San Francisco State University

Contact PI Information:
Name:Debra, Fischer
Start date: 08-15-2009 Expiration date: 07-31-2011

Organization: State code:
San Francisco State University CA

This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). One of the most effective means employed by astronomers to search for planets around stars other than our sun is to try to detect the velocity shift of the star as the planet moves about the star in its orbit. This well proven technique employs an instrument called a spectrograph to measure the small shifts in the wavelengths of features in a star's spectrum. The shifts are due to the familiar Doppler effect and are directly related to the changes in the star's velocity. Demand for telescopes that have a spectrograph of sufficient power and resolution to find these velocity shifts is increasing and more are needed to satisfy the demand. Dr. Debra Fischer of San Francisco State University is building a new spectrograph designed for such studies using funds awarded from NSF's Major Research Instrumentation program. This new spectrograph will be much more efficient in its use of telescope time than the current instrument, and will also allow astronomers to determine velocities much more accurately. When completed, the spectrograph will be placed on a 1.5-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. CTIO is publicly funded by NSF and research time on its telescopes is available to all astronomers through a competitive merit review process.