The radial velocity precision of fiber-fed spectrographs

Gordon A.H. Walker, Evgenya Shkolnik, David A. Bohlender, Stephenson Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We have measured the radial velocities of five 51 Peg-type stars and one star known to be constant in velocity. Our measurements, on 20 Å centered at 3947 Å, were conventional, using Th/Ar comparison spectra taken every 20 or 40 minutes between the stellar exposures. Existing IRAF routines were used for the reduction. We find σRV ≤20 m s -1, provided that four measurements (out of 72) with residuals greater than 5 σRV are neglected. The observations were made on five nights with the CFHT Gecko spectrograph (R ∼ 110,000), fiber-fed by the CAFE system; σRV ≤ 10 m s-1 seems possible with additional care. This study was incidental to the main observing program and is certainly not exhaustive, but the small value of σRV implies that the fiber feed/image slicer system on Gecko+CAFE essentially eliminates the long-standing problem of guiding errors in radial velocity measurements. We are not promoting this conventional approach for serious Doppler planet searches (especially with Gecko, which has such a small multiplex gain), but the precision is valuable for observations made in spectral regions remote from telluric lines or captive-gas fiducials. Instrument builders might consider the advantages of the CAFE optics, which incorporate agitation and invert the object and pupil to illuminate the slit and grating, respectively, in future spectrograph designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)700-705
Number of pages6
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number808
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The radial velocity precision of fiber-fed spectrographs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this