SPIRou is a nIR spectropolarimeter proposed as a new-generation instrument for CFHT (to be implemented in 2014). Technically speaking, SPIRou is essentially a nIR version of ESPaDOnS/NARVAL with improved RV stability (1m/s level), and consists of a high-resolution cryogenic échelle spectrograph fiber-fed from a Cassegrain achromatic polarimeter. It yields nearly complete spectral coverage in the JHK bands (ie from 0.9 to 2.4µm) at a spectral resolution of 50,000.
The main science goal is to attempt detecting earth-like planets in the habitable zone of low-mass stars and to investigate the role of magnetic fields in the star/planet formation process.
This document presents the main results of a feasibility study, discussing all relevant issues from the science drivers and corresponding instrumental specifications, to the optical design and associated technical developments, and to the operations and data processing. No significant problem with SPIRou was identified throughout this study, that we conclude with a tentative budget, a preliminary agenda and a realistic project team.
More about SPIRou & the results of the feasibility study: