References of "Absil, Olivier"
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See detailVLT/SPHERE robust astrometry of the HR8799 planets at milliarcsecond-level accuracy. Orbital architecture analysis with PyAstrOFit
Wertz, Olivier; Absil, Olivier ULg; Gómez González, Carlos ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (in press)

HR8799 is orbited by at least four giant planets, making it a prime target for the recently commissioned Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (VLT/SPHERE). As such, it was observed on ... [more ▼]

HR8799 is orbited by at least four giant planets, making it a prime target for the recently commissioned Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (VLT/SPHERE). As such, it was observed on five consecutive nights during the SPHERE science verification in December 2014. We aim to take full advantage of the SPHERE capabilities to derive accurate astrometric measurements based on H-band images acquired with the Infra-Red Dual-band Imaging and Spectroscopy (IRDIS) subsystem, and to explore the ultimate astrometric performance of SPHERE in this observing mode. We also aim to present a detailed analysis of the orbital parameters for the four planets. We report the astrometric positions for epoch 2014.93 with an accuracy down to 2.0 mas, mainly limited by the astrometric calibration of IRDIS. For each planet, we derive the posterior probability density functions for the six Keplerian elements and identify sets of highly probable orbits. For planet d, there is clear evidence for nonzero eccentricity ($e \simeq 0.35$), without completely excluding solutions with smaller eccentricities. The three other planets are consistent with circular orbits, although their probability distributions spread beyond $e = 0.2$, and show a peak at $e \simeq 0.1$ for planet e. The four planets have consistent inclinations of about $30\deg$ with respect to the sky plane, but the confidence intervals for the longitude of ascending node are disjoint for planets b and c, and we find tentative evidence for non-coplanarity between planets b and c at the $2 \sigma$ level. [less ▲]

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See detailResolved astrometric orbits of ten O-type binaries
Le Bouquin, J.-B.; Sana, H.; Gosset, Eric ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (in press)

Our long term aim is to derive model-independent stellar masses and distances for long period massive binaries by combining apparent astrometric orbit with double-lined radial velocity amplitudes (SB2 ... [more ▼]

Our long term aim is to derive model-independent stellar masses and distances for long period massive binaries by combining apparent astrometric orbit with double-lined radial velocity amplitudes (SB2). We follow-up ten O+O binaries with AMBER, PIONIER and GRAVITY at the VLTI. Here, we report about 130 astrometric observations over the last 7 years. We combine this dataset with distance estimates to compute the total mass of the systems. We also compute preliminary individual component masses for the five systems with available SB2 radial velocities. Nine over the ten binaries have their three dimensional orbit well constrained. Four of them are known colliding wind, non-thermal radio emitters, and thus constitute valuable targets for future high angular resolution radio imaging. Two binaries break the correlation between period and eccentricity tentatively observed in previous studies. It suggests either that massive star formation produce a wide range of systems, or that several binary formation mechanisms are at play. Finally, we found that the use of existing SB2 radial velocity amplitudes can lead to unrealistic masses and distances. If not understood, the biases in radial velocity amplitudes will represent an intrinsic limitation for estimating dynamical masses from SB2+interferometry or SB2+Gaia. Nevertheless, our results can be combined with future Gaia astrometry to measure the dynamical masses and distances of the individual components with an accuracy of 5 to 15\%, completely independently of the radial velocities. [less ▲]

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See detailStructure of Herbig AeBe disks at the milliarcsecond scale. A statistical survey in the H band using PIONIER-VLTI
Lazareff, B.; Berger, J.-P.; Kluska, J. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (in press)

Context. It is now generally accepted that the near-infrared excess of Herbig AeBe stars originates in the dust of a circumstellar disk. Aims. The aims of this article are to infer the radial and vertical ... [more ▼]

Context. It is now generally accepted that the near-infrared excess of Herbig AeBe stars originates in the dust of a circumstellar disk. Aims. The aims of this article are to infer the radial and vertical structure of these disks at scales of order one au, and the properties of the dust grains. Methods. The program objects (51 in total) were observed with the H-band (1.6micron) PIONIER/VLTI interferometer. The largest baselines allowed us to resolve (at least partially) structures of a few tenths of an au at typical distances of a few hundred parsecs. Dedicated UBVRIJHK photometric measurements were also obtained. Spectral and 2D geometrical parameters are extracted via fits of a few simple models: ellipsoids and broadened rings with azimuthal modulation. Model bias is mitigated by parallel fits of physical disk models. Sample statistics were evaluated against similar statistics for the physical disk models to infer properties of the sample objects as a group. Results. We find that dust at the inner rim of the disk has a sublimation temperature Tsub~1800K. A ring morphology is confirmed for approximately half the resolved objects; these rings are wide delta_r>=0.5. A wide ring favors a rim that, on the star-facing side, looks more like a knife edge than a doughnut. The data are also compatible with a the combination of a narrow ring and an inner disk of unspecified nature inside the dust sublimation radius. The disk inner part has a thickness z/r~0.2, flaring to z/r~0.5 in the outer part. We confirm the known luminosity-radius relation; a simple physical model is consistent with both the mean luminosity-radius relation and the ring relative width; however, a significant spread around the mean relation is present. In some of the objects we find a halo component, fully resolved at the shortest interferometer spacing, that is related to the HAeBe class. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst scattered-light images of the gas-rich debris disk around 49 Ceti
Choquet, É.; Milli, J.; Wahhaj, Z. et al

in Astrophysical Journal Letters (2017), 834(2), 12

We present the first scattered-light images of the debris disk around 49 ceti, a ~40 Myr A1 main sequence star at 59 pc, famous for hosting two massive dust belts as well as large quantities of atomic and ... [more ▼]

We present the first scattered-light images of the debris disk around 49 ceti, a ~40 Myr A1 main sequence star at 59 pc, famous for hosting two massive dust belts as well as large quantities of atomic and molecular gas. The outer disk is revealed in reprocessed archival Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS F110W images, as well as new coronagraphic H band images from the Very Large Telescope SPHERE instrument. The disk extends from 1.1" (65 AU) to 4.6" (250 AU), and is seen at an inclination of 73degr, which refines previous measurements at lower angular resolution. We also report no companion detection larger than 3 M_Jup at projected separations beyond 20 AU from the star (0.34"). Comparison between the F110W and H-band images is consistent with a grey color of 49 ceti's dust, indicating grains larger than >2microns. Our photometric measurements indicate a scattering efficiency / infrared excess ratio of 0.2-0.4, relatively low compared to other characterized debris disks. We find that 49 ceti presents morphological and scattering properties very similar to the gas-rich HD 131835 system. From our constraint on the disk inclination we find that the atomic gas previously detected in absorption must extend to the inner disk, and that the latter must be depleted of CO gas. Building on previous studies, we propose a schematic view of the system describing the dust and gas structure around 49 ceti and hypothetic scenarios for the gas nature and origin. [less ▲]

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See detailDiscovery of a low-mass companion inside the debris ring surrounding the F5V star HD 206893
Milli, J.; Hibon, P.; Christiaens, Valentin ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 597

<BR /> Aims: Uncovering the ingredients and the architecture of planetary systems is a very active field of research that has fuelled many new theories on giant planet formation, migration, composition ... [more ▼]

<BR /> Aims: Uncovering the ingredients and the architecture of planetary systems is a very active field of research that has fuelled many new theories on giant planet formation, migration, composition, and interaction with the circumstellar environment. We aim at discovering and studying new such systems, to further expand our knowledge of how low-mass companions form and evolve. <BR /> Methods: We obtained high-contrast H-band images of the circumstellar environment of the F5V star HD 206893, known to host a debris disc never detected in scattered light. These observations are part of the SPHERE High Angular Resolution Debris Disc Survey (SHARDDS) using the InfraRed Dual-band Imager and Spectrograph (IRDIS) installed on VLT/SPHERE. <BR /> Results: We report the detection of a source with a contrast of 3.6 × 10[SUP]-5[/SUP] in the H-band, orbiting at a projected separation of 270 milliarcsec or 10 au, corresponding to a mass in the range 24 to 73 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] for an age of the system in the range 0.2 to 2 Gyr. The detection was confirmed ten months later with VLT/NaCo, ruling out a background object with no proper motion. A faint extended emission compatible with the disc scattered light signal is also observed. <BR /> Conclusions: The detection of a low-mass companion inside a massive debris disc makes this system an analog of other young planetary systems such as β Pictoris, HR 8799 or HD 95086 and requires now further characterisation of both components to understand their interactions. [less ▲]

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See detailThe SHARDDS survey: First resolved image of the HD 114082 debris disk in the Lower Centaurus Crux with SPHERE
Wahhaj, Zahed; Milli, Julien; Kennedy, Grant et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 596

We present the first resolved image of the debris disk around the 16 ± 8 Myr old star, HD 114082. The observation was made in the H-band using the SPHERE instrument. The star is at a distance of 92 ± 6 pc ... [more ▼]

We present the first resolved image of the debris disk around the 16 ± 8 Myr old star, HD 114082. The observation was made in the H-band using the SPHERE instrument. The star is at a distance of 92 ± 6 pc in the Lower Centaurus Crux association. Using a Markov chain Monte Carlo analysis, we determined that the debris is likely in the form of a dust ring with an inner edge of 27.7[SUP]+2.8[/SUP][SUB]-3.5[/SUB] au, position angle -74.3°[SUP]+0.5[/SUP][SUB]-1.5[/SUB], and an inclination with respect to the line of sight of 6.7°[SUP]+3.8[/SUP][SUB]-0.4[/SUB]. The disk imaged in scattered light has a surface density that is declining with radius of r[SUP]-4[/SUP], which is steeper than expected for grain blowout by radiation pressure. We find only marginal evidence (2σ) of eccentricity and rule out planets more massive than 1.0 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] orbiting within 1 au of the inner edge of the ring, since such a planet would have disrupted the disk. The disk has roughly the same fractional disk luminosity (L[SUB]disk[/SUB]/L[SUB]∗[/SUB] = 3.3 × 10[SUP]-3[/SUP]) as HR 4796 A and β Pictoris, however it was not detected by previous instrument facilities most likely because of its small angular size (radius 0.4''), low albedo ( 0.2), and low scattering efficiency far from the star due to high scattering anisotropy. With the arrival of extreme adaptive optics systems, such as SPHERE and GPI, the morphology of smaller, fainter, and more distant debris disks are being revealed, providing clues to planet-disk interactions in young protoplanetary systems. The reduced images are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (<A href="http://130.79.128.5">http://130.79.128.5</A>) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/596/L4">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/596/L4</A> [less ▲]

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See detailOptimizing the subwavelength grating of L-band annular groove phase masks for high coronagraphic performance
Vargas Catalán, E.; Huby, Elsa ULg; Forsberg, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 595

Context. The annular groove phase mask (AGPM) is one possible implementation of the vector vortex coronagraph, where the helical phase ramp is produced by a concentric subwavelength grating. For several ... [more ▼]

Context. The annular groove phase mask (AGPM) is one possible implementation of the vector vortex coronagraph, where the helical phase ramp is produced by a concentric subwavelength grating. For several years, we have been manufacturing AGPMs by etching gratings into synthetic diamond substrates using inductively coupled plasma etching. <BR /> Aims: We aim to design, fabricate, optimize, and evaluate new L-band AGPMs that reach the highest possible coronagraphic performance, for applications in current and forthcoming infrared high-contrast imagers. <BR /> Methods: Rigorous coupled wave analysis (RCWA) is used for designing the subwavelength grating of the phase mask. Coronagraphic performance evaluation is performed on a dedicated optical test bench. The experimental results of the performance evaluation are then used to accurately determine the actual profile of the fabricated gratings, based on RCWA modeling. <BR /> Results: The AGPM coronagraphic performance is very sensitive to small errors in etch depth and grating profile. Most of the fabricated components therefore show moderate performance in terms of starlight rejection (a few 100:1 in the best cases). Here we present new processes for re-etching the fabricated components in order to optimize the parameters of the grating and hence significantly increase their coronagraphic performance. Starlight rejection up to 1000:1 is demonstrated in a broadband L filter on the coronagraphic test bench, which corresponds to a raw contrast of about 10[SUP]-5[/SUP] at two resolution elements from the star for a perfect input wave front on a circular, unobstructed aperture. <BR /> Conclusions: Thanks to their exquisite performance, our latest L-band AGPMs are good candidates for installation in state of the art and future high-contrast thermal infrared imagers, such as METIS for the E-ELT. [less ▲]

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See detailA near-infrared interferometric survey of debris-disc stars. V. PIONIER search for variability
Ertel, S.; Defrere, Denis ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 595

Context. Extended circumstellar emission has been detected within a few 100 milli-arcsec around ≳10% of nearby main sequence stars using near-infrared interferometry. Follow-up observations using other ... [more ▼]

Context. Extended circumstellar emission has been detected within a few 100 milli-arcsec around ≳10% of nearby main sequence stars using near-infrared interferometry. Follow-up observations using other techniques, should they yield similar results or non-detections, can provide strong constraints on the origin of the emission. They can also reveal the variability of the phenomenon. Aims: We aim to demonstrate the persistence of the phenomenon over the timescale of a few years and to search for variability of our previously detected excesses. Methods: Using Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI)/Precision Integrated Optics Near Infrared ExpeRiment (PIONIER) in H band we have carried out multi-epoch observations of the stars for which a near-infrared excess was previously detected using the same observation technique and instrument. The detection rates and distribution of the excesses from our original survey and the follow-up observations are compared statistically. A search for variability of the excesses in our time series is carried out based on the level of the broadband excesses. Results: In 12 of 16 follow-up observations, an excess is re-detected with a significance of > 2σ, and in 7 of 16 follow-up observations significant excess (> 3σ) is re-detected. We statistically demonstrate with very high confidence that the phenomenon persists for the majority of the systems. We also present the first detection of potential variability in two sources. Conclusions: We conclude that the phenomenon responsible for the excesses persists over the timescale of a few years for the majority of the systems. However, we also find that variability intrinsic to a target can cause it to have no significant excess at the time of a specific observation. [less ▲]

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See detailExocomet signatures around the A-shell star φ Leonis?
Eiroa, C.; Rebollido, I.; Montesinos, B. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 594

We present an intensive monitoring of high-resolution spectra of the Ca ii K line in the A7IV shell star φ Leo at very short (minutes, hours), short (night to night), and medium (weeks, months) timescales ... [more ▼]

We present an intensive monitoring of high-resolution spectra of the Ca ii K line in the A7IV shell star φ Leo at very short (minutes, hours), short (night to night), and medium (weeks, months) timescales. The spectra show remarkable variable absorptions on timescales of hours, days, and months. The characteristics of these sporadic events are very similar to most that are observed toward the debris disk host star β Pic, which are commonly interpreted as signs of the evaporation of solid, comet-like bodies grazing or falling onto the star. Therefore, our results suggest the presence of solid bodies around φ Leo. To our knowledge, with the exception of β Pic, our monitoring has the best time resolution at the mentioned timescales for a star with events attributed to exocomets. Assuming the cometary scenario and considering the timescales of our monitoring, our results indicate that φ Leo presents the richest environment with comet-like events known to date, second only to β Pic. [less ▲]

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See detailPreliminary optical design for the common fore optics of METIS
Agócs, Tibor; Brandl, Bernhard R.; Jager, Rieks et al

in Evans, C.; Simard, L.; Takami, H. (Eds.) Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI (2016, August 09)

METIS is the Mid-infrared E-ELT Imager and Spectrograph, which will provide outstanding observing capabilities, focusing on high angular and spectral resolution. It consists of two diffraction-limited ... [more ▼]

METIS is the Mid-infrared E-ELT Imager and Spectrograph, which will provide outstanding observing capabilities, focusing on high angular and spectral resolution. It consists of two diffraction-limited imagers operating in the LM and NQ bands respectively and an IFU fed diffraction-limited high-resolution (R=100,000) LM band spectrograph. These science subsystems are preceded by the common fore optics (CFO), which provides the following essential functionalities: calibration, chopping, image de-rotation, thermal background and stray light reduction. We show the evolution of the CFO optical design from the conceptual design to the preliminary optical design, detail the optimization steps and discuss the necessary trade-offs. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh-contrast imaging with METIS
Kenworthy, Matthew A.; Absil, Olivier ULg; Agócs, Tibor et al

in Evans, C.; Simard, L.; Takami, H. (Eds.) Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI (2016, August 09)

The Mid-infrared E-ELT Imager and Spectrograph (METIS) for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) consists of diffraction-limited imagers that cover 3 to 14 microns with medium resolution (R 5000 ... [more ▼]

The Mid-infrared E-ELT Imager and Spectrograph (METIS) for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) consists of diffraction-limited imagers that cover 3 to 14 microns with medium resolution (R 5000) long slit spectroscopy, and an integral field spectrograph for high spectral resolution spectroscopy (R 100,000) over the L and M bands. One of the science cases that METIS addresses is the characterization of faint circumstellar material and exoplanet companions through imaging and spectroscopy. We present our approach for high contrast imaging with METIS, covering diffraction suppression with coronagraphs, the removal of slowly changing optical aberrations with focal plane wavefront sensing, interferometric imaging with sparse aperture masks, and observing strategies for both the imagers and IFU image slicers. [less ▲]

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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 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 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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