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NAHUAL (Near-infrAred High-resolUtion spectrogrAph for pLanet hunting) will be a high-resolution (R ~ 60,000) near-infrared echelle spectrograph. NAHUAL is intended as a trailblazer instrument for 10 m-class telescopes to provide unique capabilities to perform high-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy with the goal of detecting Earth-like planets around cool and brown dwarfs. The science that will be enabled by NAHUAL includes:


The main science mode must be optimized for exoplanet research. It will provide high spectral resolution (R > 60,000), wide spectral coverage and high stability so that it enables high accuracy RV measurements and accurate monitoring of line profiles. The challenge is to obtain an accuracy of 1 m/s, which is now routinely achieved with several ground-based echelle spectrographs in the optical wavelength range (Hamilton at Lick, HARPS at ESO, HIRES at Keck). In addition to the main mode, NAHUAL may have other modes of operation that enhance its capabilities for being used by a wide scientific community. Those modes will be implemented only if they do not compromise the performance of the main mode. We will call them optional modes.

NAHUAL main science mode will be optimized to observe bright point sources (J < 12 mag). No image rotator is needed for this operation because the sources will be much brighter than the sky.

The observations should be matched to the average natural seeing. The main mode should work without an adaptive optics (AO) facility because of possible PSF variations, significant light losses and limited sky visibility of AO systems.