Efficient Coupling of Light into RHEA to search for Exoplanets

The Replicable High-resolution Exoplanet and Asteroseismology spectrograph (RHEA) is a set of two compact echelle spectrographs fed by single-mode fibers: one at Mt Stromlo observatory and one at the Subaru telescope. In this project, you will finalise and characterise a fiber feed to couple light into the Mt Stromlo observatory spectrograph, including the following new technologies:

  • Phase-induced amplitude apodization to inject light from an annular pupil into fibers with a near-Gaussian profile.
  • Voice-coil based tip/tilt adaptive optics.

This project will involve a significant amount of laboratory work, some simulation work and testing and characterising the instrument in the evenings at Mt Stromlo Observatory. In the long term, the radial velocity technique for exoplanet search of earth-like planets will likely require continuous monitoring by many small telescopes instead time on large telescopes because this enables the planetary signal to be seen above the stellar "jitter" (convection and pulsation) of the parent star. This project will demonstrate the feasibility of the key technology for this ambitious goal.