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See detailThe VLTi/PIONIER survey of southern TTauri disks
Anthonioz, F.; Ménard, F.; Pinte, C. et al

in Booth, Mark; Matthews, Brenda; Graham, James (Eds.) Exploring the Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems (2014, January 01)

Studying the inner regions of protoplanetary disks (1-10 AU) is of importance to understand the formation of planets and the accretion process feeding the forming central star. Herbig AeBe stars are ... [more ▼]

Studying the inner regions of protoplanetary disks (1-10 AU) is of importance to understand the formation of planets and the accretion process feeding the forming central star. Herbig AeBe stars are bright enough to be routinely observed by Near IR interferometers. The data for the fainter T Tauri stars is much more sparse. In this contribution we present the results of our ongoing survey at the VLTI. We used the PIONIER combiner that allows the simultaneous use of 4 telescopes, yielding 6 baselines and 3 independent closure phases at once. PIONIER's integrated optics technology makes it a sensitive instrument. We have observed 22 T Tauri stars so far, the largest survey for T Tauri stars to this date. Our results demonstrate the very significant contribution of an extended component to the interferometric signal. The extended component is different from source to source and the data, with several baselines, offer a way to improve our knowledge of the disk geometry and/or composition. These results validate an earlier study by Pinte et al. 2008 and show that the dust inner radii of T Tauri disks now appear to be in better agreement with the expected position of the dust sublimation radius, contrary to previous claims. [less ▲]

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See detailPIONIER: a 4-telescope visitor instrument at VLTI
Le Bouquin, J.-B.; Berger, J.-P.; Lazareff, B. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2011), 535

Context. PIONIER stands for Precision Integrated-Optics Near-infrared Imaging ExpeRiment. It combines four 1.8m Auxilliary Telescopes or four 8m Unit Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer ... [more ▼]

Context. PIONIER stands for Precision Integrated-Optics Near-infrared Imaging ExpeRiment. It combines four 1.8m Auxilliary Telescopes or four 8m Unit Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (ESO, Chile) using an integrated optics combiner. The instrument was integrated at IPAG in December 2009 and commissioned at the Paranal Observatory in October 2010. It has provided scientific observations since November 2010. <BR /> Aims: In this paper, we explain the instrumental concept and describe the standard operational modes and the data reduction strategy. We present the typical performance and discuss how to improve them. <BR /> Methods: This paper is based on laboratory data obtained during the integrations at IPAG, as well as on-sky data gathered during the commissioning at VLTI. We illustrate the imaging capability of PIONIER on the binaries δ Sco and HIP11231. <BR /> Results: PIONIER provides six visibilities and three independent closure phases in the H band, either in a broadband mode or with a low spectral dispersion (R = 40), using natural light (i.e. unpolarized). The limiting magnitude is Hmag = 7 in dispersed mode under median atmospheric conditions (seeing < 1, τ[SUB]0[/SUB] > 3ms) with the 1.8m Auxiliary Telescopes. We demonstrate a precision of 0.5deg on the closure phases. The precision on the calibrated visibilities ranges from 3% to 15% depending on the atmospheric conditions. <BR /> Conclusions: PIONIER was installed and successfully tested as a visitor instrument for the VLTI. It permits high angular resolution imaging studies at an unprecedented level of sensitivity. The successful combination of the four 8m Unit Telescopes in March 2011 demonstrates that VLTI is ready for four-telescope operation. Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Paranal, Chile (commissioning data and 087.C-0709). [less ▲]

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See detailA VLTI/AMBER closure-phase search for low-mass companions around nearby young stars: first results on beta Pictoris
Absil, Olivier ULg; Le Bouquin, J.-B.; Chauvin, G. et al

Conference (2010, October 25)

Young stars in nearby moving groups and associations are well suited to search for low-mass companions. In addition to their brightness, their proximity gives access to small linear separations and their ... [more ▼]

Young stars in nearby moving groups and associations are well suited to search for low-mass companions. In addition to their brightness, their proximity gives access to small linear separations and their youth makes potential low-mass companion brighter than around older main sequence stars. We have recently started a survey of such young nearby stars with the AMBER near-infrared interferometer at the VLTI. The closure phase measurements provided by AMBER on a triplet of baselines are particularly sensitive to nearby off-axis point-like sources. In this talk, we describe the first results of this survey obtained on beta Pictoris. Thanks to a closure phase accuracy of a few 0.1 degree, we show that a 3-sigma sensitivity of about 4e-3 can be reached on the contrast of potential companions for angular separations between 0.01 and 0.2 arcsec. This translates into a companion mass of about 35 Mjup from 0.2 to 4 AU in the case of beta Pictoris. We extrapolate this result on other stars of our survey and discuss the discovery space of AMBER. [less ▲]

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See detailPIONIER: a visitor instrument for VLTI
Berger, Jean-Philippe; Zins, G.; Lazareff, B. et al

in Danchi, W. C.; Delplancke, F.; Rajagopal, J. K. (Eds.) Optical and Infrared Interferometry II (2010, July)

PIONIER is a 4-telescope visitor instrument for the VLTI, planned to see its first fringes in 2010. It combines four ATs or four UTs using a pairwise ABCD integrated optics combiner that can also be used ... [more ▼]

PIONIER is a 4-telescope visitor instrument for the VLTI, planned to see its first fringes in 2010. It combines four ATs or four UTs using a pairwise ABCD integrated optics combiner that can also be used in scanning mode. It provides low spectral resolution in H and K band. PIONIER is designed for imaging with a specific emphasis on fast fringe recording to allow closure-phases and visibilities to be precisely measured. In this work we provide the detailed description of the instrument and present its updated status. [less ▲]

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See detailThe spin-orbit alignment of the Fomalhaut planetary system probed by optical long baseline interferometry
Le Bouquin, J.-B.; Absil, Olivier ULg; Benisty, M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2009), 498

Aims. We discuss the spin-orbit orientation of the Fomalhaut planetary system composed of a central A4V star, a debris disk, and a recently discovered planetary companion. Methods: We use spectrally ... [more ▼]

Aims. We discuss the spin-orbit orientation of the Fomalhaut planetary system composed of a central A4V star, a debris disk, and a recently discovered planetary companion. Methods: We use spectrally resolved, near-IR long baseline interferometry to obtain precise spectro-astrometric measurements across the Br-gamma absorption line. The achieved astrometric accuracy of ±3 muas and the spectral resolution R=1500 from the AMBER/VLTI instrument allow us to spatially and spectrally resolve the rotating photosphere. Results: We find a position angle PA(star)=65° ± 3° for the stellar rotation axis, perpendicular to the literature measurement for the disk position angle (PA(disk)=156.0 ° ± 0.3°). This is the first time such a test could be performed for a debris disk, and in a non-eclipsing system. Additionally, our measurements suggest unexpected backward-scattering properties for the circumstellar dust grains. Conclusions: Our observations validate the standard scenario for star and planet formation in which the angular momentum of the planetary systems are expected to be colinear with the stellar spins. Based on observations collected at the VLTI (ESO Paranal, Chile), with the 082.C-0376 program from the AMBER Guaranteed Time of the Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri (INAF, Italy). [less ▲]

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See detailMilli-arcsecond Astrophysics with VSI, the VLTI Spectro-imager in the ELT Era
Malbet, F.; Buscher, D.; Weigelt, G. et al

in Moorwood, Alan (Ed.) Science with the VLT in the ELT Era (2009)

Nowadays, compact sources relatively warm like surfaces of nearby stars, circumstellar environments of stars from early stages to the most evolved ones and surroundings of active galactic nuclei can be ... [more ▼]

Nowadays, compact sources relatively warm like surfaces of nearby stars, circumstellar environments of stars from early stages to the most evolved ones and surroundings of active galactic nuclei can be investigated at milli-arcsecond scales only with the VLT in its interferometric mode. We propose a spectro-imager, named VSI (VLTI spectro-imager), which is capable to probe these sources both over spatial and spectral scales in the near-infrared domain. This instrument will provide information complementary to what is obtained at the same time with ALMA at different wavelengths and the extreme large telescopes. [less ▲]

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See detailVSI: the VLTI spectro-imager
Malbet, F.; Buscher, D.; Weigelt, G. et al

in Schöller, Markus; Danchi, William; Delplancke, Françoise (Eds.) Optical and Infrared Interferometry (2008, July 01)

The VLTI Spectro Imager (VSI) was proposed as a second-generation instrument of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer providing the ESO community with spectrally-resolved, near-infrared images at ... [more ▼]

The VLTI Spectro Imager (VSI) was proposed as a second-generation instrument of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer providing the ESO community with spectrally-resolved, near-infrared images at angular resolutions down to 1.1 milliarcsecond and spectral resolutions up to R = 12000. Targets as faint as K = 13 will be imaged without requiring a brighter nearby reference object; fainter targets can be accessed if a suitable reference is available. The unique combination of high-dynamic-range imaging at high angular resolution and high spectral resolution enables a scientific program which serves a broad user community and at the same time provides the opportunity for breakthroughs in many areas of astrophysics. The high level specifications of the instrument are derived from a detailed science case based on the capability to obtain, for the first time, milliarcsecond-resolution images of a wide range of targets including: probing the initial conditions for planet formation in the AU-scale environments of young stars; imaging convective cells and other phenomena on the surfaces of stars; mapping the chemical and physical environments of evolved stars, stellar remnants, and stellar winds; and disentangling the central regions of active galactic nuclei and supermassive black holes. VSI will provide these new capabilities using technologies which have been extensively tested in the past and VSI requires little in terms of new infrastructure on the VLTI. At the same time, VSI will be able to make maximum use of new infrastructure as it becomes available; for example, by combining 4, 6 and eventually 8 telescopes, enabling rapid imaging through the measurement of up to 28 visibilities in every wavelength channel within a few minutes. The current studies are focused on a 4-telescope version with an upgrade to a 6-telescope one. The instrument contains its own fringe tracker and tip-tilt control in order to reduce the constraints on the VLTI infrastructure and maximize the scientific return. [less ▲]

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See detailSystem overview of the VLTI Spectro-Imager
Jocou, L.; Berger, J.-P.; Malbet, F. et al

in Schöller, Markus; Danchi, William; Delplancke, Françoise (Eds.) Optical and Infrared Interferometry (2008, July 01)

The VLTI Spectro Imager project aims to perform imaging with a temporal resolution of 1 night and with a maximum angular resolution of 1 milliarcsecond, making best use of the Very Large Telescope ... [more ▼]

The VLTI Spectro Imager project aims to perform imaging with a temporal resolution of 1 night and with a maximum angular resolution of 1 milliarcsecond, making best use of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer capabilities. To fulfill the scientific goals (see Garcia et. al.), the system requirements are: a) combining 4 to 6 beams; b) working in spectral bands J, H and K; c) spectral resolution from R= 100 to 12000; and d) internal fringe tracking on-axis, or off-axis when associated to the PRIMA dual-beam facility. The concept of VSI consists on 6 sub-systems: a common path distributing the light between the fringe tracker and the scientific instrument, the fringe tracker ensuring the co-phasing of the array, the scientific instrument delivering the interferometric observables and a calibration tool providing sources for internal alignment and interferometric calibrations. The two remaining sub-systems are the control system and the observation support software dedicated to the reduction of the interferometric data. This paper presents the global concept of VSI science path including the common path, the scientific instrument and the calibration tool. The scientific combination using a set of integrated optics multi-way beam combiners to provide high-stability visibility and closure phase measurements are also described. Finally we will address the performance budget of the global VSI instrument. The fringe tracker and scientific spectrograph will be shortly described. [less ▲]

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See detailVSI: a milli-arcsec spectro-imager for the VLTI
Malbet, F.; Kern, P. Y.; Berger, J.-P. et al

in Monnier, John D; Schöller, Markus; Danchi, William C (Eds.) Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Conference Series "Advances in Stellar Interferometry" - SPIE Conference 6268 (2006, July)

VLTi Spectro-Imager (VSI) is a proposition for a second generation VLTI instrument which is aimed at providing the ESO community with the capability of performing image synthesis at milli-arcsecond ... [more ▼]

VLTi Spectro-Imager (VSI) is a proposition for a second generation VLTI instrument which is aimed at providing the ESO community with the capability of performing image synthesis at milli-arcsecond angular resolution. VSI provides the VLTI with an instrument able to combine 4 telescopes in a baseline version and optionally up to 6 telescopes in the near-infrared spectral domain with moderate to high spectral resolution. The instrument contains its own fringe tracker in order to relax the constraints onto the VLTI infrastructure. VSI will do imaging at the milli-arcsecond scale with spectral resolution of: a) the close environments of young stars probing the initial conditions for planet formation; b) the surfaces of stars; c) the environment of evolved stars, stellar remnants and stellar winds, and d) the central region of active galactic nuclei and supermassive black holes. The science cases allowed us to specify the astrophysical requirements of the instrument and to define the necessary studies of the science group for phase A. [less ▲]

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