A team of engineers and astrophysicists has installed the front-end module of a new instrument named iLocater at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory in the Pinaleño Mountains of southeast Arizona. When fully completed, the instrument will be a first-of-its-kind high-resolution spectrometer capable of detecting Earth-like planets within habitable zones of nearby stars.
Jonathan Crass, research assistant professor in the Department of Physics, has been selected to serve as a member of a NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) initiative that will make recommendations to advance the search for earth-like planets that orbit other suns.
The Extreme Precision Radial Velocity (EPRV) Initiative will share the members’ views about the pathway, programs and potential technology development needed. In September 2018, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Committee on Exoplanet Science Strategy made recommendations about the next decade’s search for habitable worlds outside our solar system, and urged NASA and NSF to establish this joint initiative to support the science of obtaining ultra-precise radial velocity measurements. These measurements provide essential mass, orbit, and census information about stars.