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Undergoing Phase A study
HIRES (Phase A)
The High Resolution Spectrograph
HIRES (the High Resolution Spectrograph) is an instrument under study for ESO’s forthcoming
Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). The contract to begin design studies for HIRES was signed on 22 March 2016 by ESO. The HIRES consortium is led by the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) and composed of over 30 institutions. HIRES is currently completing the initial project stage known as Phase A.
The proposed HIRES instrument combines a high resolution and wide spectral range with the massive surface area of the ELT to produce data with very little noise or excessive signal. This will allow HIRES to study very faint astronomical objects which require highly sensitive observations.
The primary goal of HIRES would be to characterise the exoplanetary atmospheres from Neptune-like planets to Earth-like planets, with the ultimate goal of looking for signatures of life. HIRES will also allow astronomers to study the evolution of stars and galaxies; identify the signatures of the very first generation of stars in the primordial universe; and determine whether some of the
fundamental constants of physics, which regulate most physical processes in the Universe, actually change with time. In addition to this, one of the most exciting goals of the ELT is the possibility of directly measuring the acceleration of the Universe's expansion. Such a measurement would greatly impact our understanding of the Universe and its fate.
The design for HIRES builds on high-resolution spectrographs made for ESO’s
Very Large Telescope.
HIRES (Phase A)
This table lists the global capabilities of the instrument. The authoritative technical specifications as offered for astronomical observations will be located on the future Science Operations page.
Site: Cerro Armazones
Extremely Large Telescope
Focus: Five-mirror design — three-mirror on-axis anastigmat + two fold mirrors used for adaptive optics
Type: Visible and Infrared Spectrograph (U-band and K-band modules as possible extensions)
0.4–1.8 µm (proposed)0.37–2.5 µm (possible extensions)
Spatial resolution: Seeing limited and Adaptive Optics (proposed)
Spectral resolution: R ~100,000 (proposed)
First light date: N/A
Images taken with the instrument:
Images of the instrument:
Press Releases with the instrument:
High resolution infrared and visible observations for:
Characterizing exoplanet atmospheres (Earth-like planets and life signatures)
Fundamental constants of physics
Stars in the early universe
Board of Observational Astronomy, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte
Mauá Institute of Technology
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Centre of Astro Engineering (Chile) Universidad de Chile, Department of Astronomy (Chile)
Universidad de Concepción, Center of Astronomical Instrumentation (Chile)
Universidad de Antofagasta, Unidad de Astronomía (Chile)
Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
Institute of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Aarhus (Denmark)
Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (France)
Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (France)
Laboratoire Lagrange de l’Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur (France)
Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics, Potsdam (Germany) Institut für Astrophysik, Universität Göttingen (Germany)
Zentrum für Astronomie Heidelberg, Landessternwarte (Germany)
Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg (Germany)
Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg (Germany)
Istituto Nazionale di AstroFisica (Italy, Lead Institution)
Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics (Poland)
Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço - Universidade do Porto and Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal)
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Spain)
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía-CSIC (Spain) Centro de Astrobiología (Spain)
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University (Sweden)
Université de Genève, Département d’Astronomie (
Observatoire de Genève) (Switzerland) Universität Bern, Physikalisches Institut (Switzerland)
Cavendish Laboratory University of Cambridge (UK)
Institute of Astronomy University of Cambridge (UK)
UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK) Centre for Advanced Instrumentation - Durham University (UK)
Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences (School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University) (UK)