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HIRES is the study of a High Resolution Spectrograph for the E-ELT.

The currently applicable E-ELT instrumentation plan will offer a High Resolution Spectrograph as part of its suite of instruments soon after the first-light set of Adaptive Optics modules and Scientific Instruments. This responds to the need to exploit the unprecedented photon-collection power of the E-ELT in the spectral resolution domain.

In this context, HIRES is currently a joint initiative by nine interested partners from Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom, with the goal of contributing to the definition of a sounded and disruptive science case and of an instrument concept of proven feasibility to implement it. HIRES follows the phase A studies for E-ELT instrument concepts that included one optical (CODEX, Pasquini et al. 2010, The Messenger, 140, 20) and one near-IR (SIMPLE, Origlia et al. 2010, SPIE  77352B) high-resolution spectrographs.

Flagship science cases include the characterization of exoplanet atmospheres with the prospect of the detection of signatures of life on rocky planets, the chemical composition of planetary debris on the surface of white dwarfs, protoplanetary and proto-stellar disks, detailed stellar physics and evolution over the full space of stellar parameters, Galactic archaeology out to the Local Group and beyond, the chemical fingerprints imprinted by population III stars on the Inter-Galactic Medium (IGM) during the epoch of reionization, evolution of galaxies no longer restricted to strongly star-forming and/or very massive galaxies, primordial black holes, and the exciting possibility of paradigm-changing contributions to fundamental physics.

Flagship science drivers demands for a stable instrument with a spectral resolution of R≈100,000 and broad, simultaneous spectral coverage extending from 0.37μm to 2.5μm. Most science cases to not require spatially resolved information, and can be pursued in seeing-limited mode, although some of them would benefit of the E-ELT diffraction limited resolution. Some multiplexing as well as some polarimetric capabilities would also be beneficial for a number of the science cases. These various requirements can be met with a highly modular instrument concept that foresees independent and optimized fiber-fed spectrographs, enabling different observing modes and giving access to different wavelength ranges.

More information about the project can be found at the hires webpage.

HIRES is part of the Progetto Premiale T-REX.

People of OABO currently involved in the initiative: Livia Origlia (Scientist, coordinator of the Core Science Team), Angela Bragaglia (Sceintist), Paolo Montegriffo (Software Engineer).