© IRAP / OMP / CNRS Photothèque
First light in the laboratory for the cryogenic spectrograph that forms part of the SPIRou (near-infrared spectropolarimeter) instrument. Close-up of an area of a spectrum obtained during spectrograph tests at a cryogenic temperature of 80 kelvin (-193°C) using a xenon laser lamp. This lamp is part of the instrument’s radial velocity module. SPIRou comprises a near-infrared spectropolarimeter combined with a high-precision velocimeter. Installed at the Cassegrain focus of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) at the end of 2017, SPIRou has been designed to detect habitable Earth twin exoplanets in the planetary systems of red dwarf stars similar to the Sun. It could also penetrate the mysteries of the birth of stars and planets by observing, for the first time, the magnetic fields of protostars barely a few hundred thousand years old.