The observatories participating in Red Dots 2017 are:


ESO 3.6-metre telescope. Credit: ESO/A. Ghizzi Panizza (

The European Southern Observatory’s La Silla site is home to one of the most successful planet finders in the history of astronomy: HARPS, the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher and currently, for astronomers, “the” planet hunter of ground-based astronomy.

Attached to the ESO 3.6-metre telescope, HARPS searches nightly, and with unparalleled accuracy, for exoplanets. HARPS picks up small changes in the star’s radial velocity (ie along the line of sight), which can be as little as a gentle walking pace of 3.5 km/h. Due to the Doppler effect, this radial velocity change induces a shift of the star’s spectrum towards longer wavelengths as it moves away (called a redshift) and a shift towards shorter wavelengths (blueshift) as it approaches. This tiny shift in the star’s spectral lines can be measured with a high-precision spectrograph such as HARPS and used to infer the presence of a planet.

The Red Dots team will use HARPS to detect radial velocities from all three stars targeted by the campaign. HARPS will be used in Visitor Mode (observations will be done by an ESO staff astronomer) over 90 nights.


SPACEOBS at Desierto de Atacama, in Chile.

SPACEOBS, the San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations Observatory is located at 2450m above sea level, north of the Atacama Desert, in Chile, near to the village of San Pedro de Atacama and close to the border with Bolivia and Argentina.

The observatory hosts several telescopes for public renting as well as several robotic telescopes operated in remote mode. The telescope participating in the Red Dots campaign is the ASH2 (Astrograph for South Hemisphere II) telescope, a 40cm robotic telescope which is managed and supported by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA) in Spain, and it is operated in remote mode.

Attached to this telescope there is a CCD camera STL11000 2.7K x 4K, with a field of view (FOV) of 54 x 82 arcmin, equipped with three broad-band filters: BVR (Blue, Visual, Red) centred at 440 nm, 535 nm, and 620 nm, respectively, with a full witdth at half maximum (FWHM) of 110 nm, 85 nm and 85 nm, respectively; along with three other narrow-band filters: OIII, SII and H-alpha, centred at OIII (501 nm), SII (672 nm) and H-alpha (656 nm) lines, respectively, with FWHM= 12 nm in all three cases. During the present RedDots 2017 multi-site, multi-colour, multi-technique observing campaign, subframes with only 40% of the total FOV will be used, that is, useful FOV 21.6 x 32.8 arcmin. The observations will be carried out on the VR bands for the targets Prox Cen and GJ729, whereas the filters will be OIII, SII and H-alpha for the Barnard’s star.


Sierra Nevada Observatory in Granada, Spain.

SNO, the Sierra Nevada Observatory is a high elevation observatory, 2900m above the sea level, located at La Loma de Dílar, at the ski resort of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Granada, Spain. The SNO is operated, maintained and supplied by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC).

It consists of a main building which hosts two Nasmyth optical telescopes of 90 cm and 150 cm diameter each, as well as a 60 cm IR semi-automated telescope and a 35 cm telescope.

The T90 telescope will be participating in the Red Dots 2017 campaign observing Barnard’s star. The T90 has a CCD camera VersArray 2Kx2K, with F0V of 13.2×13.2 arcmin and a large set of broad- and narrow-band filters including Johnson BVR filters that will be used in the observations of Barnard’s star.


Teide observatory in Tenerife Spain, home of two 40 cm LCO telescopes.

Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) is a network of robotic telescopes installed around the globe. Currently, it has telescopes of 40 cm, 1 m, and 2 m mirror size in Australia (Siding Spring Observatory), South Africa (Sutherland), Spain (Tenerife, Teide Observatory), Chile (Cerro Tololo Observatory), and USA (McDonalds Observatory and Haleakala Observatory). Thanks to their geographical coverage, LCO provides to the community the opportunity to follow up objects continuously for more than one night by using several sites of the network.

We will observe Proxima Centauri, Barnard’s star, and Ross 154 daily with the 40 cm and 1 m LCO telescopes. The 40 cm telescopes have a Cassegrain focus, and are equipped with equatorial mounts and SBIG cameras with a field of view of 29 x 29 arcmin. The 1 m telescopes also have a Cassegrain focus and equatorial mounts but they are equipped with Sinistro cameras with a field of view of 26 x 26 arcmin. Both 40 cm and 1 m telescopes possess a set of broad band filters including B, V Johnson and r’ and i’ sloan, which will be used to observe the targets.

The scheduling system of LCO will choose the observing sites according to the coordinates of the objects, time of observations, and elevation constrains.


The OAdM in Lleida, Spain.

The Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec (OAdM) is a scientific infrastructure that is managed by the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC) by virtue of an agreement with the Direcció General de Recerca of Generalitat de Catalunya.

The OAdM comprises four facilities for research in astronomy and two measurement stations. The Telescopi Joan Oró (TJO) is a 0.8 m telescope working in a completely unattended manner, and it will be the one participating in the Red Dots 2017 campaign contributing with observations of Barnard’s star and Ross 154. Both targets will be monitored with R and I filters using MEIA2, the optical imager of the TJO. This consists of a filter wheel and the main CCD camera, an Andor DW936N-BV, with a field of fiew of 12.3×12.3 arcmin. The observation strategy at the TJO will consist of at least one observation per night and filter for the two selected Red Dots targets.


Bayfordbury Observatory, Hertfordshire, UK.

Situated approximately 6 miles from the main campus of the University of Hertfordshire, Bayfordbury Observatory runs a number of telescopes including seven individually-housed telescopes, 4.5-metre radio telescope and 3-dish 115-metre baseline interferometer connected to state-of-the-art 21cm line receivers.

This campaign will primarily use five remotely operated 16-inch Meade LX200’s equipped with SBIG STL cameras. These are queue-scheduled and will be used with various different filter configurations. These telescopes are routinely used for high precision photometric monitoring observations including exoplanetary transits. Notwithstanding the short summer nights and British weather they will observe Barnard’s star several times per night.


REM telescope facility at La Silla, Chile.

REM (Rapid Eye Mount) is a 60 cm diameter fast reacting telescope located in the La Silla premises of the ESO Chilean Observatory. The telescope hosts two instruments: REMIR, an infrared imaging camera, and ROS2, a visibile imager with 4 simultaneous passbands. The two cameras can also observe simultaneously thanks to a dichroic placed before telescope
focus the same field of view of 10×10 arcmin. Thus, 5 images are obtained at the same time: g,r,i,z, and IR. The Observatory is operated for INAF by the REM Team, a delocalized group of people.

REM will uniquely use its infrared REMIR camera to monitor the three red dots in every night it is possible to observe.