HARPS3 and The Terra Hunting Experiment

Lead Research Organisation: UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Planned Impact

The main scientific goal of the project is to detect Earth-mass exoplanets on longer orbits than is currently possible around nearby, bright stars, with an ultimate aim to push the detection threshold out to Earth-like planets. The scientific impact of such a discovery will be first to demonstrate that the Earth and the Solar System does not belong to a rare category of planetary systems. Second, the identification of a "Goldilocks planet" potentially able to sustain life would stimulate and encourage further studies of its nature and its atmospheric content with the prospect of identifying indirect traces of life. Such a discovery is likely to stimulate excitement and enhanced interest in science amongst the general public and young people. Our aim is to use that excitement to drive the outreach programmes at both Exeter and Cambridge, by ensuring that planet announcements are followed up by related outreach activities.

Our programme is based around the construction of a large, highly technical instrument, and so also involves transfer of technical expertise to those institutes, companies and staff involved.


10 25 50
Description This award partially funded the early stages of construction of a new instrument for searching for Earth-mass planets in Earth-like orbits around solar-type stars.
The primary components robotising the Isaac Newton Telescope and constructing an "improved copy" of the HARPS3 spectrograph. The project is now in the late stages of construction aiming to start collecting data in about two years' time.
Exploitation Route HARPS3 will be an important instrument for the Uk and wider exoplanet community.
Sectors Education

Description The work attracts public interest in the science enabled by the Terra-Hunting Experiment.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Impact Types Societal

Title HARPS3 Observations Scheduler 
Description The software which will be used to schedule observations on the Isaac Newton Telescope. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact The software is initially meant for the use of the consortium, but it is planned to be released once it has operated "on sky".