References of "Absil, Olivier"
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See detailMaking high-accuracy null depth measurements for the LBTI exozodi survey
Mennesson, Bertrand; Defrere, Denis ULg; Nowak, Matthias et al

in Malbet, F.; Creech-Eakman, M.; Tuthill, P. (Eds.) Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging V (2016, August 04)

The characterization of exozodiacal light emission is both important for the understanding of planetary systems evolution and for the preparation of future space missions aiming to characterize low mass ... [more ▼]

The characterization of exozodiacal light emission is both important for the understanding of planetary systems evolution and for the preparation of future space missions aiming to characterize low mass planets in the habitable zone of nearby main sequence stars. The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) exozodi survey aims at providing a ten-fold improvement over current state of the art, measuring dust emission levels down to a typical accuracy of 12 zodis per star, for a representative ensemble of 30+ high priority targets. Such measurements promise to yield a final accuracy of about 2 zodis on the median exozodi level of the targets sample. Reaching a 1 σ measurement uncertainty of 12 zodis per star corresponds to measuring interferometric cancellation ("null") levels, i.e visibilities at the few 100 ppm uncertainty level. We discuss here the challenges posed by making such high accuracy mid-infrared visibility measurements from the ground and present the methodology we developed for achieving current best levels of 500 ppm or so. We also discuss current limitations and plans for enhanced exozodi observations over the next few years at LBTI. [less ▲]

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See detailThe path to interferometry in space
Rinehart, S. A.; Savini, G.; Holland, W. et al

in Malbet, F.; Creech-Eakman, M.; Tuthill, P. (Eds.) Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging V (2016, August 04)

For over two decades, astronomers have considered the possibilities for interferometry in space. The first of these missions was the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), but that was followed by missions ... [more ▼]

For over two decades, astronomers have considered the possibilities for interferometry in space. The first of these missions was the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), but that was followed by missions for studying exoplanets (e.g Terrestrial Planet Finder, Darwin), and then far-infrared interferometers (e.g. the Space Infrared Interferometric Telescope, the Far-Infrared Interferometer). Unfortunately, following the cancellation of SIM, the future for space-based interferometry has been in doubt, and the interferometric community needs to reevaluate the path forward. While interferometers have strong potential for scientific discovery, there are technological developments still needed, and continued maturation of techniques is important for advocacy to the broader astronomical community. We review the status of several concepts for space-based interferometry, and look for possible synergies between missions oriented towards different science goals. [less ▲]

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See detailEnd-to-end simulations of the E-ELT/METIS coronagraphs
Carlomagno, Brunella ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Kenworthy, Matthew et al

in Marchetti, E.; Close, L.; Véran, J.-P. (Eds.) Adaptive Optics Systems V (2016, July 27)

The direct detection of low-mass planets in the habitable zone of nearby stars is an important science case for future E-ELT instruments such as the mid-infrared imager and spectrograph METIS, which ... [more ▼]

The direct detection of low-mass planets in the habitable zone of nearby stars is an important science case for future E-ELT instruments such as the mid-infrared imager and spectrograph METIS, which features vortex phase masks and apodizing phase plates (APP) in its baseline design. In this work, we present end-to-end performance simulations, using Fourier propagation, of several METIS coronagraphic modes, including focal-plane vortex phase masks and pupil-plane apodizing phase plates, for the centrally obscured, segmented E-ELT pupil. The atmosphere and the AO contributions are taken into account. Hybrid coronagraphs combining the advantages of vortex phase masks and APPs are considered to improve the METIS coronagraphic performance. [less ▲]

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See detailCommissioning and first light results of an L'-band vortex coronagraph with the Keck II adaptive optics NIRC2 science instrument
Femenía Castellá, Bruno; Serabyn, Eugene; Mawet, Dimitri et al

in Marchetti, E.; Close, L.; Véran, J.-P. (Eds.) Adaptive Optics Systems V (2016, July 26)

On March 2015 an L'-band vortex coronagraph based on an Annular Groove Phase Mask made up of a diamond sub-wavelength grating was installed on NIRC2 as a demonstration project. This vortex coronagraph ... [more ▼]

On March 2015 an L'-band vortex coronagraph based on an Annular Groove Phase Mask made up of a diamond sub-wavelength grating was installed on NIRC2 as a demonstration project. This vortex coronagraph operates in the L' band not only in order to take advantage from the favorable star/planet contrast ratio when observing beyond the K band, but also to exploit the fact that the Keck II Adaptive Optics (AO) system delivers nearly extreme adaptive optics image quality (Strehl ratios values near 90%) at 3.7μm. We describe the hardware installation of the vortex phase mask during a routine NIRC2 service mission. The success of the project depends on extensive software development which has allowed the achievement of exquisite real-time pointing control as well as further contrast improvements by using speckle nulling to mitigate the effect of static speckles. First light of the new coronagraphic mode was on June 2015 with already very good initial results. Subsequent commissioning nights were interlaced with science nights by members of the VORTEX team with their respective scientific programs. The new capability and excellent results so far have motivated the VORTEX team and the Keck Science Steering Committee (KSSC) to offer the new mode in shared risk mode for 2016B. [less ▲]

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See detailThe QACITS pointing sensor: from theory to on-sky operation on Keck/NIRC2
Huby, Elsa ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Mawet, Dimitri et al

in Marchetti, E.; Close, L.; Véran, J.-P. (Eds.) Adaptive Optics Systems V (2016, July 26)

Small inner working angle coronagraphs are essential to benefit from the full potential of large and future extremely large ground-based telescopes, especially in the context of the detection and ... [more ▼]

Small inner working angle coronagraphs are essential to benefit from the full potential of large and future extremely large ground-based telescopes, especially in the context of the detection and characterization of exoplanets. Among existing solutions, the vortex coronagraph stands as one of the most effective and promising solutions. However, for focal-plane coronagraph, a small inner working angle comes necessarily at the cost of a high sensitivity to pointing errors. This is the reason why a pointing control system is imperative to stabilize the star on the vortex center against pointing drifts due to mechanical flexures, that generally occur during observation due for instance to temperature and/or gravity variations. We have therefore developed a technique called QACITS[SUP]1[/SUP] (Quadrant Analysis of Coronagraphic Images for Tip-tilt Sensing), which is based on the analysis of the coronagraphic image shape to infer the amount of pointing error. It has been shown that the flux gradient in the image is directly related to the amount of tip-tilt affecting the beam. The main advantage of this technique is that it does not require any additional setup and can thus be easily implemented on all current facilities equipped with a vortex phase mask. In this paper, we focus on the implementation of the QACITS sensor at Keck/NIRC2, where an L-band AGPM has been recently commissioned (June and October 2015), successfully validating the QACITS estimator in the case of a centrally obstructed pupil. The algorithm has been designed to be easily handled by any user observing in vortex mode, which is available for science in shared risk mode since 2016B. [less ▲]

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See detailPolarization Measurements of Hot Dust Stars and the Local Interstellar Medium
Marshall, J. P.; Cotton, D. V.; Bott, K. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 825

Debris discs are typically revealed through the presence of excess emission at infrared wavelengths. Most discs exhibit excess at mid- and far-infrared wavelengths, analogous to the solar system’s ... [more ▼]

Debris discs are typically revealed through the presence of excess emission at infrared wavelengths. Most discs exhibit excess at mid- and far-infrared wavelengths, analogous to the solar system’s Asteroid and Edgeworth-Kuiper belts. Recently, stars with strong (˜1%) excess at near-infrared wavelengths were identified through interferometric measurements. Using the HIgh Precision Polarimetric Instrument, we examined a sub-sample of these hot dust stars (and appropriate controls) at parts-per-million sensitivity in SDSS g‧ (green) and r‧ (red) filters for evidence of scattered light. No detection of strongly polarized emission from the hot dust stars is seen. We, therefore, rule out scattered light from a normal debris disk as the origin of this emission. A wavelength-dependent contribution from multiple dust components for hot dust stars is inferred from the dispersion (the difference in polarization angle in red and green) of southern stars. Contributions of 17 ppm (green) and 30 ppm (red) are calculated, with strict 3-σ upper limits of 76 and 68 ppm, respectively. This suggests weak hot dust excesses consistent with thermal emission, although we cannot rule out contrived scenarios, e.g., dust in a spherical shell or face-on discs. We also report on the nature of the local interstellar medium (ISM), obtained as a byproduct of the control measurements. Highlights include the first measurements of the polarimetric color of the local ISM and the discovery of a southern sky region with a polarization per distance thrice the previous maximum. The data suggest that λ [SUB]max[/SUB], the wavelength of maximum polarization, is bluer than typical. [less ▲]

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See detailUnveiling new stellar companions from the EXOZODI survey : follow up
Marion, Lindsay ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Ertel, Steve et al

Poster (2016, June 30)

In 2012, we have conducted a survey of nearby main sequence stars with VLTI/PIONIER to search for the presence of circumstellar dust. We focused on the use of the closure phases and the square ... [more ▼]

In 2012, we have conducted a survey of nearby main sequence stars with VLTI/PIONIER to search for the presence of circumstellar dust. We focused on the use of the closure phases and the square visibilities in a combined way to search for faint companions around the whole sample. In this process, we found four new stellar companions, for which we conducted follow-up observations in 2014. This follow up allows us to confirm the four detections, and to detect another new companion. Only the case of HD202730 remains ambiguous. [less ▲]

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See detailUnveiling new stellar companions from the PIONIER exozodi survey : follow up
Marion, Lindsay ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Ertel, Steve et al

Poster (2016, June 28)

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See detailThree years of harvest with the vector vortex coronagraph in the thermal infrared
Absil, Olivier ULg; Mawet, D.; Karlsson, M. et al

in Evans, C.; Simard, L.; Takami, H. (Eds.) Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI (2016, June 26)

For several years, we have been developing vortex phase masks based on sub-wavelength gratings, known as Annular Groove Phase Masks. Etched onto diamond substrates, these AGPMs are currently designed to ... [more ▼]

For several years, we have been developing vortex phase masks based on sub-wavelength gratings, known as Annular Groove Phase Masks. Etched onto diamond substrates, these AGPMs are currently designed to be used in the thermal infrared (ranging from 3 to 13 μm). Our AGPMs were first installed on VLT/NACO and VLT/VISIR in 2012, followed by LBT/LMIRCam in 2013 and Keck/NIRC2 in 2015. In this paper, we review the development, commissioning, on-sky performance, and early scientific results of these new coronagraphic modes and report on the lessons learned. We conclude with perspectives for future developments and applications. [less ▲]

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See detailNulling Data Reduction and On-sky Performance of the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer
Defrere, Denis ULg; Hinz, P. M.; Mennesson, B. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 824

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) is a versatile instrument designed for high angular resolution and high-contrast infrared imaging (1.5-13 μm). In this paper, we focus on the mid ... [more ▼]

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) is a versatile instrument designed for high angular resolution and high-contrast infrared imaging (1.5-13 μm). In this paper, we focus on the mid-infrared (8-13 μm) nulling mode and present its theory of operation, data reduction, and on-sky performance as of the end of the commissioning phase in 2015 March. With an interferometric baseline of 14.4 m, the LBTI nuller is specifically tuned to resolve the habitable zone of nearby main-sequence stars, where warm exozodiacal dust emission peaks. Measuring the exozodi luminosity function of nearby main-sequence stars is a key milestone to prepare for future exo-Earth direct imaging instruments. Thanks to recent progress in wavefront control and phase stabilization, as well as in data reduction techniques, the LBTI demonstrated in 2015 February a calibrated null accuracy of 0.05% over a 3 hr long observing sequence on the bright nearby A3V star β Leo. This is equivalent to an exozodiacal disk density of 15-30 zodi for a Sun-like star located at 10 pc, depending on the adopted disk model. This result sets a new record for high-contrast mid-infrared interferometric imaging and opens a new window on the study of planetary systems. [less ▲]

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See detailE-ELT/METIS
Brandl, B.; Quanz, S.; Feldt, M. et al

in Simon, R.; Schaaf, R.; Stutzki, J. (Eds.) Conditions and Impact of Star Formation (2016, May 20)

The Mid-infrared E-ELT Imager and Spectrograph (METIS) will be one of the first three scientific instruments on the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). It will be the only instrument to cover the ... [more ▼]

The Mid-infrared E-ELT Imager and Spectrograph (METIS) will be one of the first three scientific instruments on the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). It will be the only instrument to cover the thermal/mid-infrared wavelength range from 3-19 μm. METIS offers a number of scientifically important observing modes, including diffraction-limited imaging, low resolution slit spectroscopy, coronagraphy, and high resolution (R ˜ 100,000) integral field spectroscopy at very high sensitivity. This paper gives a brief summary of METIS and focuses on its unique discovery space in the area of protoplanetary disks, where METIS is quite complementary to ALMA and JWST. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of the low-mass companion around HD 142527 with VLT/SINFONI
Christiaens, Valentin ULg; Casassus, Simon; Absil, Olivier ULg et al

Conference (2016, May 19)

The circumstellar disk of the Herbig Fe star HD 142527 is host to several remarkable features in the context of planetary formation, including a warped inner disk, one of the largest annular gaps, a ... [more ▼]

The circumstellar disk of the Herbig Fe star HD 142527 is host to several remarkable features in the context of planetary formation, including a warped inner disk, one of the largest annular gaps, a prominent dust trap and several spiral arms in its outer disk. A low-mass companion, HD 142527 B, was also found orbiting the primary star at only ~10 au, possibly shaping the inclined inner disk (inclined with respect to the outer disk). This study aims to provide a clarifying answer to the question of the true nature of this companion, which could help explaining its true impact on the peculiar geometry of the disk. We observed the source with VLT/SINFONI in H+K band in pupil-tracking mode. Data were then post-processed with several principal component analysis algorithms based on the principle of Angular Differential Imaging. HD 142527 B is re-detected in most of the H+K spectral channels at a signal-to-noise ratio > 3. This re-detection enables us to extract the first medium-resolution spectrum of a low-mass companion at less than 0.1'' from its central star. The best fit to our spectrum was obtained with a BT-SETTL model spectrum corresponding to a temperature of 3400+-50K and a surface gravity log(g)=2.5+-1.0. Using pre-main sequence tracks, this corresponds to an M3 star with a mass, radius and age of M_B ~0.3 M_Sun, R_B ~ 1.1 R_Sun and 3.6 Myr old, respectively. We also suggest that most of the expected circum-secondary material is at a temperature lower than 1000K, hence not emitting in H and K band, but able to explain the excess measured at L- and M-bands. Based on the new values of radius and mass of the companion, we provide a new estimate for the mass accretion rate on HD 142527 B of ~1% of the accretion rate on the primary, consistent with a non-significant detection in the Brackett-gamma line. This result confirms the efficiency of the pupil-tracking mode implemented on VLT/SINFONI for the spectral characterization of faint companions orbiting very close to their star. [less ▲]

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See detailVortex Image Processing (VIP) package for high-contrast direct imaging
Gómez González, Carlos ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Wertz, Olivier ULg et al

Poster (2016, May 16)

VIP is a Python instrument-agnostic toolbox featuring a flexible framework for reproducible and robust data reduction. VIP currently supports three high-contrast imaging observational techniques: angular ... [more ▼]

VIP is a Python instrument-agnostic toolbox featuring a flexible framework for reproducible and robust data reduction. VIP currently supports three high-contrast imaging observational techniques: angular, reference-star and multi-spectral differential imaging. The code can be downloaded from our git repository on Github: http://github.com/vortex-exoplanet/VIP [less ▲]

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See detailLow-rank plus sparse decomposition for exoplanet detection in direct-imaging ADI sequences. The LLSG algorithm
Gómez González, Carlos ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Absil, P.-A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 589

Context. Data processing constitutes a critical component of high-contrast exoplanet imaging. Its role is almost as important as the choice of a coronagraph or a wavefront control system, and it is ... [more ▼]

Context. Data processing constitutes a critical component of high-contrast exoplanet imaging. Its role is almost as important as the choice of a coronagraph or a wavefront control system, and it is intertwined with the chosen observing strategy. Among the data processing techniques for angular differential imaging (ADI), the most recent is the family of principal component analysis (PCA) based algorithms. It is a widely used statistical tool developed during the first half of the past century. PCA serves, in this case, as a subspace projection technique for constructing a reference point spread function (PSF) that can be subtracted from the science data for boosting the detectability of potential companions present in the data. Unfortunately, when building this reference PSF from the science data itself, PCA comes with certain limitations such as the sensitivity of the lower dimensional orthogonal subspace to non-Gaussian noise. <BR /> Aims: Inspired by recent advances in machine learning algorithms such as robust PCA, we aim to propose a localized subspace projection technique that surpasses current PCA-based post-processing algorithms in terms of the detectability of companions at near real-time speed, a quality that will be useful for future direct imaging surveys. <BR /> Methods: We used randomized low-rank approximation methods recently proposed in the machine learning literature, coupled with entry-wise thresholding to decompose an ADI image sequence locally into low-rank, sparse, and Gaussian noise components (LLSG). This local three-term decomposition separates the starlight and the associated speckle noise from the planetary signal, which mostly remains in the sparse term. We tested the performance of our new algorithm on a long ADI sequence obtained on β Pictoris with VLT/NACO. <BR /> Results: Compared to a standard PCA approach, LLSG decomposition reaches a higher signal-to-noise ratio and has an overall better performance in the receiver operating characteristic space. This three-term decomposition brings a detectability boost compared to the full-frame standard PCA approach, especially in the small inner working angle region where complex speckle noise prevents PCA from discerning true companions from noise. [less ▲]

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See detailControlling the profile of high aspect ratio gratings in diamond
Vargas Catalan, Ernesto; Forsberg, Pontus; Absil, Olivier ULg et al

in Diamond & Related Materials (2016), 63

Diamond is an excellent material for infrared optics and for applications in harsh environments. Some of those desirable properties, i.e. hardness and chemical inertness, also make it a challenging ... [more ▼]

Diamond is an excellent material for infrared optics and for applications in harsh environments. Some of those desirable properties, i.e. hardness and chemical inertness, also make it a challenging material to machine and etch. In this study we have tested a wide range of etch parameters in an inductively coupled plasma etcher, in order to produce highly controlled, high aspect ratio gratings in diamond. We discuss the effects of pressure, bias power, and some gas mixture variation (pure oxygen and argon-oxygen) on the etch results and how it impacts the etch mask sputtering and redeposition. We also present a method for applying a fresh aluminum mask, in order to etch even deeper optical grating. Gratings with aspect ratios as high as 1:13.5 have been achieved with a 1.42 μm grating period. [less ▲]

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See detailPost-coronagraphic tip-tilt sensing for vortex phase masks: the QACITS technique
Huby, Elsa ULg; Baudoz, Pierre; Mawet, Dimitri et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 584

Small inner working angle coronagraphs, like the vortex phase mask, are essential to exploit the full potential of ground-based telescopes in the context of exoplanet detection and characterization ... [more ▼]

Small inner working angle coronagraphs, like the vortex phase mask, are essential to exploit the full potential of ground-based telescopes in the context of exoplanet detection and characterization. However, the drawback of this attractive feature is a high sensitivity to pointing errors, which degrades the performance of the coronagraph. We propose a tip-tilt retrieval technique based on the analysis of the final coronagraphic image, hereafter called Quadrant Analysis of Coronagraphic Images for Tip-tilt Sensing (QACITS). Under the assumption of small phase aberrations, we show that the behaviour of the vortex phase mask can be simply described from the entrance pupil to the Lyot stop plane by Zernike polynomials. This convenient formalism is used to establish the theoretical basis of the QACITS technique. Simulations have been performed to demonstrate the validity and limits of the technique, including the case of a centrally obstructed pupil. The QACITS technique principle is further validated by experimental results in the case of an unobstructed circular aperture. The typical configuration of the Keck telescope (24% central obstruction) has been simulated with additional high order aberrations. In these conditions, our simulations show that the QACITS technique is still adapted to centrally obstructed pupils and performs tip-tilt retrieval with a precision of $5 \times 10^{-2}$ {\lambda}/D when wavefront errors amount to {\lambda}/14 rms and $10^{-2}$ {\lambda}/D for {\lambda}/70 rms errors (with {\lambda} the wavelength and D the pupil diameter). The implementation of the QACITS technique is based on the analysis of the scientific image and does not require any modification of the original setup. Current facilities equipped with a vortex phase mask can thus directly benefit from this technique to improve the contrast performance close to the axis. [less ▲]

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See detailLyot-plane phase masks for improved high-contrast imaging with a vortex coronagraph
Ruane, Garreth J.; Huby, Elsa ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 583

The vortex coronagraph is an optical instrument that precisely removes on-axis starlight allowing for high contrast imaging at small angular separation from the star, thereby providing a crucial ... [more ▼]

The vortex coronagraph is an optical instrument that precisely removes on-axis starlight allowing for high contrast imaging at small angular separation from the star, thereby providing a crucial capability for direct detection and characterization of exoplanets and circumstellar disks. Telescopes with aperture obstructions, such as secondary mirrors and spider support structures, require advanced coronagraph designs to provide adequate starlight suppression. We introduce a phase-only Lyot-plane optic to the vortex coronagraph that offers improved contrast performance on telescopes with complicated apertures. Potential solutions for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) are described and compared. Adding a Lyot-plane phase mask relocates residual starlight away from a region of the image plane thereby reducing stellar noise and improving sensitivity to off-axis companions. The phase mask is calculated using an iterative phase retrieval algorithm. Numerically, we achieve a contrast on the order of $10^{-6}$ for a companion with angular displacement as small as $4~\lambda/D$ with an E-ELT type aperture. Even in the presence of aberrations, improved performance is expected compared to either a conventional vortex coronagraph or optimized pupil plane phase element alone. [less ▲]

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See detailDirect exoplanet detection and characterization using the ANDROMEDA method: Performance on VLT/NaCo data
Cantalloube, F.; Mouillet, D.; Mugnier, L. M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 582

Context. The direct detection of exoplanets with high-contrast imaging requires advanced data processing methods to disentangle potential planetary signals from bright quasi-static speckles. Among them ... [more ▼]

Context. The direct detection of exoplanets with high-contrast imaging requires advanced data processing methods to disentangle potential planetary signals from bright quasi-static speckles. Among them, angular differential imaging (ADI) permits potential planetary signals with a known rotation rate to be separated from instrumental speckles that are either statics or slowly variable. The method presented in this paper, called ANDROMEDA for ANgular Differential OptiMal Exoplanet Detection Algorithm is based on a maximum likelihood approach to ADI and is used to estimate the position and the flux of any point source present in the field of view. Aims. In order to optimize and experimentally validate this previously proposed method, we applied ANDROMEDA to real VLT/NaCo data. In addition to its pure detection capability, we investigated the possibility of defining simple and efficient criteria for automatic point source extraction able to support the processing of large surveys. Methods. To assess the performance of the method, we applied ANDROMEDA on VLT/NaCo data of TYC-8979-1683-1 which is surrounded by numerous bright stars and on which we added synthetic planets of known position and flux in the field. In order to accommodate the real data properties, it was necessary to develop additional pre-processing and post-processing steps to the initially proposed algorithm. We then investigated its skill in the challenging case of a well-known target, $\beta$ Pictoris, whose companion is close to the detection limit and we compared our results to those obtained by another method based on principal component analysis (PCA). Results. Application on VLT/NaCo data demonstrates the ability of ANDROMEDA to automatically detect and characterize point sources present in the image field. We end up with a robust method bringing consistent results with a sensitivity similar to the recently published algorithms, with only two parameters to be fine tuned. Moreover, the companion flux estimates are not biased by the algorithm parameters and do not require a posteriori corrections. Conclusions. ANDROMEDA is an attractive alternative to current standard image processing methods that can be readily applied to on-sky data. [less ▲]

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See detailPerformance evaluation of mid-IR vortex coronagraphs with centrally obscured segmented pupils
Carlomagno, Brunella ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Ruane, Garreth J. et al

Poster (2015, October)

In its original design, the E-ELT/Metis instrument envisages a vortex coronagraph in the mid-IR regime for detection and characterization of exoplanets, with a contrast of 1e-4 at 2 lambda/D (~40 mas in L ... [more ▼]

In its original design, the E-ELT/Metis instrument envisages a vortex coronagraph in the mid-IR regime for detection and characterization of exoplanets, with a contrast of 1e-4 at 2 lambda/D (~40 mas in L band). The AGPM (Annular Groove Phase Mask) is a vortex phase mask with impressive characteristics: small inner working angle, high throughput, achromaticity. A non-perfectly circular pupil and non-flat input wavefront result in a starlight leakage, degrading the performance of the vortex coronagraph. In this work, we present end-to-end performance simulations using Fourier optical propagation to determine the quality of the starlight rejection obtained with an infrared vortex coronagraph. We first analyse the performance facing E-ELT pupil variations (segmentations, central obscuration, spiders, missing segments), then pointing jitter and random adaptive optics residual phase screens are introduced to derive more realistic performance. Finally, more advanced concepts of the infrared vortex coronagraph are presented, in order to compensate for performance degradation. [less ▲]

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See detailExoplanet science with the LBTI: instrument status and plans
Defrere, Denis ULg; Hinz, P.; Skemer, A. et al

in Shaklan, Stuart (Ed.) Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII (2015, September 16)

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) is a strategic instrument of the LBT designed for high-sensitivity, high-contrast, and high-resolution infrared (1.5-13 $\mu$m) imaging of nearby ... [more ▼]

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) is a strategic instrument of the LBT designed for high-sensitivity, high-contrast, and high-resolution infrared (1.5-13 $\mu$m) imaging of nearby planetary systems. To carry out a wide range of high-spatial resolution observations, it can combine the two AO-corrected 8.4-m apertures of the LBT in various ways including direct (non-interferometric) imaging, coronagraphy (APP and AGPM), Fizeau imaging, non-redundant aperture masking, and nulling interferometry. It also has broadband, narrowband, and spectrally dispersed capabilities. In this paper, we review the performance of these modes in terms of exoplanet science capabilities and describe recent instrumental milestones such as first-light Fizeau images (with the angular resolution of an equivalent 22.8-m telescope) and deep interferometric nulling observations. [less ▲]

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