Heralding Extreme Precision Spectroscopy: A Tale of Two Instruments

We are on the brink of opening our eyes to the universe with higher fidelity than ever before. The new generation of planet hunting spectrographs, aiming at <1m/s radial velocity (RV) precision, are being assembled as we speak. These massive systems leverage a range of technological advances, from high-homogeneity illumination delivery setups, to sophisticated wavelength calibration, and ultra stable environmental control, to move us firmly into the discovery realm of Earth-like planets. I will discuss the challenges and solutions from building two such upcoming instruments: [a] NEID, an extreme precision instrument that will be the centerpiece of the NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research (NN-EXPLORE) partnership, and [b] the Keck Planet Finder, a next-generation stabilized spectrograph for the Keck I telescope. While these instruments have the power to recast our understanding of the exoplanet landscape, they cannot be treated as black boxes that produce RVs. Here we will acknowledge the critical role of understanding instrument systematics in the production of high-impact scientific results, and look forward to the rich rewards we can consequently expect -- including routine access to smaller planets, a better understanding of stellar physics, and the direct detection of planetary atmospheres.

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