We present the scientific motivation and conceptual design for the recently funded Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF), a stabilized fiber-fed near-infrared (NIR) spectrograph for the 10 meter class Hobby-Eberly Telescope(HET) that will be capable of discovering low mass planets around M dwarfs. The HPF will cover the NIR Y & J bands to enable precise radial velocities to be obtained on mid M dwarfs, and enable the detection of low mass planets around these stars. The conceptual design is comprised of a cryostat cooled to 200K, a dual fiber-feed with a science and calibration fiber, a gold coated mosaic echelle grating, and a Teledyne Hawaii-2RG (H2RG)* NIR detector with a 1.7υm cutoff. A Uranium-Neon hollow-cathode lamp is the baseline wavelength calibration source, and we are actively testing laser frequency combs to enable even higher radial velocity precision. We will present the overall instrument system design and integration with the HET, and discuss major system challenges, key choices, and ongoing research and development projects to mitigate risk. We also discuss the ongoing process of target selection for the HPF survey.
Proceedings Title: Proceedings of SPIE Volume 8446
Conference Dates: July 1-4, 2012
Conference Location: Amsterdam, CA
Conference Title: Conference 8446 SPIE Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV
Pub Type: Conferences
Exoplanets, instrumentation, modal noise, near-infrared spectrograph design, radial velocity surveys, spectroscopy