2017 November: SPIRou goes to Hawaii

The review panel granted green light for SPIRou to be shipped to CFHT

After 9 months of delicate tuning and intense testing, SPIRou successfully completed a long series of drastic validation experiments demonstrating that it meets the expected performances. As usual in such circumstances, a panel of scientists and engineers was gathered to confirm that the results of the validation tests are compliant with expectations.

2017/11 – The happy SPIRou team and panel members, after green light was granted for shipping the instrument to Hawaii (©S.Chastanet – CNRS/OMP)

During the review, the SPIRou team summarized for the panel all tests that had been carried out, outlining in each case how results match design predictions. They also presented a detailed description of what the plan is for the forthcoming phases, which includes shipping the instrument to Hawaii, installing it in its new home atop the dormant Maunakea volcano, repeating all validation tests to verify that the instrument did not suffer from its trip to Hawaii, and finally carrying out even more technical tests on the sky before being allowed to start its fascinating science programmes aimed at exploring nearby new worlds and investigating their habitability.

The review was held on 2017 Nov 21 and 22 at IRAP / OMP and included experts from both CNRS (Pierre Kern and Guy Perrin from INSU, Magali Deleuil from LAM and Mike Toplis from IRAP / OMP) and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) in Hawaii where SPIRou will be installed (Andy Sheinis, Claire Moutou, Greg Barrick and Doug Simons). Following all presentations by the team and a wrap up discussion of the panel members, SPIRou was granted green light for starting out the next phase of its exciting adventures. To fit within everybody’s busy schedule, some of the CFHT personnel were present via videoconference and had to stay up all night during the presentation and discussion sessions. The SPIRou team warmly thanks the whole panel for its time and precious advice on how to install and exploit SPIRou at its best.

2017/11 – The SPIRou team and panel members, including Andy Sheinis and Greg Barrick from CFHT on the TV screen, who stayed up for 2 nights in a row to participate to the review via videoconference (©S.Chastanet – CNRS/OMP)
2017/11 – The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) where SPIRou will be installed early next year (©CFHT)

More news


2021 August: SPIRou reveals the atmosphere of Tau Boo b

The atmosphere of the giant exoplanet Tau Boo b was investigated with SPIRou. Using the SPIRou spectropolarimeter on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) in Hawaii, a team gathering core SPIRou scientists led by Stefan Pelletier, PhD student at Université de Montréal, studied the atmosphere of the gas giant exoplanet Tau Boo b, a scorching hot world that […]



2021 February: SPIRou stares at a young rebel, the AU Mic planetary system

For the very first time, the mass and density of a very young planet are reliably characterized. SPIRou, the new spectropolarimeter / high-precision velocimeter recently installed on the 3.6m Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), allowed to measure the mass and density of a close-in Neptune-like planet orbiting the hugely-active newborn star AU Microscopii (AU Mic), and to […]



2019 February: Stargazing with SPIRou

SPIRou unfolds its discovery programmes Following an extensive testing programme that led to a successful acceptance, SPIRou has started its ambitious scientific exploration and is expected to be used at CFHT for hundreds of observing nights in the coming few years. SPIRou will tackle very diverse science programmes, from forming stars with protoplanetary discs to […]