Calibrating echelle spectrographs with Fabry-Pérot etalons

F. F. Bauer, M. Zechmeister, A. Reiners
2015 Astronomy and Astrophysics  
Over the past decades hollow-cathode lamps have been calibration standards for spectroscopic measurements. Advancing to cm/s radial velocity precisions with the next generation of instruments requires more suitable calibration sources with more lines and less dynamic range problems. Fabry-Perot interferometers provide a regular and dense grid of lines and homogeneous amplitudes making them good candidates for next generation calibrators. We investigate the usefulness of Fabry-Perot etalons in
more » ... -Perot etalons in wavelength calibration, present an algorithm to incorporate the etalon spectrum in the wavelength solution and examine potential problems. The quasi periodic pattern of Fabry-Perot lines is used along with a hollow-cathode lamp to anchor the numerous spectral features on an absolute scale. We test our method with the HARPS spectrograph and compare our wavelength solution to the one derived from a laser frequency comb. The combined hollow-cathode lamp/etalon calibration overcomes large distortion (50 m/s) in the wavelength solution of the HARPS data reduction software. Direct comparison to the laser frequency comb bears differences of only maximum 10 m/s. Combining hollow-cathode lamps with Fabry-Perot Interferometers can lead to substantial improvements in the wavelength calibration of echelle spectrographs. Etalons can provide economical alternatives to the laser frequency comb, especially for smaller projects.
doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201526462 fatcat:mjectr5uj5ez5iudvxncozr5uy