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 […]


2019 January: Hunting exoplanets with SPIRou

SPIRou reaches 2 m/s velocimetric precision Among the extensive tests carried out with SPIRou throughout 2018, the most demanding experiment was to demonstrate that SPIRou is capable of detecting the periodic motions of stars hosting exoplanets.  If a star is found to exhibit a very regular back and forth motion with respect to the observer, […]


2019 January: Green light for SPIRou science at CFHT

SPIRou passed the final acceptance review Almost exactly one year after reaching its new home atop Maunakea on the big island of Hawaii, and following one complete year of intense in-lab and on-sky testing at CFHT, SPIRou passed the final acceptance review on 2019 January 24, and is now ready to initiate its exciting scientific […]


2018 April: First light from the starry sky for SPIRou

SPIRou collects its first photons from stars beyond the Solar System Although still in a phase of technical characterization, SPIRou enjoyed a short period of star gazing on April 24 to 26 through the giant eye of the 3.6m Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), atop the dormant Maunakea volcano on the big island of Hawaii. The goal […]


2018 April: First SPIRou images with H4RG array

SPIRou collected the first calibration images with its science-grade H4RG array After switching the SPIRou detector to a new-generation science-grade H4RG array, a 2nd cryogenic cycle was launched at CFHT (6th cycle since the beginning of the SPIRou tests, in 2017 March). Three weeks later, the SPIRou spectrograph is cold (~1 week needed) and thermally […]


2018 March: SPIRou gets a new H4RG science detector

The SPIRou spectrograph is now equipped with a new H4RG science detector After one year and five cryogenic cycles of tests and validation of the whole SPIRou instrument, at IRAP / OMP (Toulouse) then CFHT (Hawaii) using a first-generation H2RG engineering-grade detector, SPIRou is now equipped with a science-grade H4RG detector of the latest generation […]


2018 March: First light for the SPIRou Cassegrain unit

The SPIRou tip-tilt system was tested on real stars at CFHT Following the installation of SPIRou at CFHT, the Cassegrain unit and its dedicated control electronic rack were mounted at the Cassegrain focus of the CFH telescope, where they collected their first photons from real stars for on-sky verification of the SPIRou guiding and tip-tilt […]