Keck Observatory

HISPEC (High-resolution Infrared Spectrograph for Exoplanet Characterization) is a new high-resolution (R>100,000) near-infrared (NIR) diffraction- limited spectrograph operating between 1 – 2.5 μm.   HISPEC will reside on the Keck II telescope  and will optimally utilize Keck’s powerful adaptive optics (AO) system. The AO system couples starlight into single-mode fibers, thereby suppressing modal noise affecting multi-mode fiber-fed spectrographs and reducing sky background and OH emission lines by two orders of magnitude (vs. seeing-limited architectures). Moreover, by using single-mode fiber inputs, we derive a compact, ultra-stable and cost-effective spectrograph design. 

HISPEC will excel at spectroscopy of transiting and non-transiting exoplanets in close orbits; direct high-contrast detection and spectroscopy of spatially separated substellar companions; and exoplanet dynamical mass and orbit measurements using precision radial velocity monitoring (PRV) calibrated with an ultra-stable laser frequency comb (LFC).  HISPEC will offer a dramatic range of science possibilities in addition to exploring the exoplanet frontier, including studies of stars in the Galactic Center, probing the dynamics of stars in other crowded regions such as star forming regions and clusters, exploring the Galactic bulge, halo and nearby dwarf galaxies, and unique studies in the Solar System.

HISPEC has an anticipated first light date of December 2024.

Want to learn more?
Thank you for considering a gift to support HISPEC! To learn more about making a gift to this project or others at UC Observatories, contact Chief Development Officer, Natasha Pedroza, by email at or by phone at 831-459-3455.