The tiny signals from exoplanet atmospheres are an enormous challenge to observe - the planet’s atmosphere typically contributes less than 0.01% of the total brightness of the system. Purpose-built instruments, constructed with this challenge in mind, open the door to new investigations. By pushing towards higher contrast measurements, improved sensitivity, and broader wavelength coverage, it will be possible to study many previously inaccessible planets (including smaller and cooler worlds closer in properties to our own Earth).

The APEx Department is involved in several instrumentation projects, in collaboration with the MPIA Technical Departments. These include:

  • VLTI/GRAVITY+: an upgrade to the GRAVITY K-band interferometry instrument, expected to improve the sensitivity for exoplanet observations by a factor of 5-10

  • ELT/METIS: an ELT first light instrument focused on high contrast imaging and high-resolution spectroscopy in the mid-infrared

  • ELT/ANDES: an ELT second light instrument capable of high-resolution spectroscopy in the optical and near-infrared

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