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See detailUnveiling new stellar companions from the PIONIER exozodi survey
Marion, Lindsay ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Ertel, S. et al

in Rajagopal, Jayadev; Creech-Eakman; Malbet, Fabien (Eds.) Optical and Infrared Interferometry IV (2014, July 24)

The main goal of the EXOZODI survey is to detect and characterize circumstellar dust and to propose the first statistical study of exozodiacal disks in the near-infrared using telescopes in both ... [more ▼]

The main goal of the EXOZODI survey is to detect and characterize circumstellar dust and to propose the first statistical study of exozodiacal disks in the near-infrared using telescopes in both hemispheres (VLTI and CHARA). For this purpose, Ertel et al. have conducted in 2012 a survey of nearby main sequence stars with VLTI/PIONIER to search for the presence of circumstellar dust. This survey, carried out during 12 nights, comprises about 100 stars. For each star, we obtained typically three OBs and we searched for circumstellar emission based on the measurement of squared visibilities at short baselines. A drop in the measured visibilities with respect to the expected photospheric visibility indicates the presence of resolved emission around the target star. It is however generally not possible to conclude on the morphology of the detected emission based solely on the squared visibilities. Here, we focus on closure phases to search systematically for faint companions around the whole sample. Indeed, to derive robust statistics on the occurrence rate of bright exozodiacal disks, we need to discriminate between companions and disks. For this reason, the main goal of this paper is to discriminate between circumstellar disks (which show no closure phase provided that they are point-symmetric) and faint companions (point-like sources, creating non-zero closure phases). We also aim to reveal new companions that do not necessarily produce a significant signature in the squared visibilities, as the signature of the companion may show up more prominently in the closure phases. In this process, we reveal four new stellar companions with contrasts ranging from 2% to 95% (i.e., up to near-equal flux binaries). We also tentatively detect faint companions around one other target that will require follow-up observations to be confirmed or infirmed. We discuss the implications of these discoveries on the results of the exozodi survey. [less ▲]

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See detailThe VORTEX project: first results and perspectives
Absil, Olivier ULg; Mawet, Dimitri; Delacroix, Christian ULg et al

in Marchetti, Enrico; Close, Laird; Véran, Jean-Pierre (Eds.) Adaptive Optics Systems IV (2014, July 21)

Vortex coronagraphs are among the most promising solutions to perform high contrast imaging at small angular separations from bright stars. They feature a very small inner working angle (down to the ... [more ▼]

Vortex coronagraphs are among the most promising solutions to perform high contrast imaging at small angular separations from bright stars. They feature a very small inner working angle (down to the diffraction limit of the telescope), a clear 360 degree discovery space, have demonstrated very high contrast capabilities, are easy to implement on high-contrast imaging instruments, and have already been extensively tested on the sky. Since 2005, we have been designing, developing and testing an implementation of the charge-2 vector vortex phase mask based on concentric sub-wavelength gratings, referred to as the Annular Groove Phase Mask (AGPM). Science-grade mid-infrared AGPMs were produced in 2012 for the first time, using plasma etching on synthetic diamond substrates. They have been validated on a coronagraphic test bench, showing broadband peak rejection up to 500:1 in the L band, which translates into a raw contrast of about 6e-5 at 2λ/D. Three of them have now been installed on world-leading diffraction-limited infrared cameras, namely VLT/NACO, VLT/VISIR and LBT/LMIRCam. During the science verification observations with our L-band AGPM on NACO, we observed the beta Pictoris system and obtained unprecedented sensitivity limits to planetary companions down to the diffraction limit (0.1"). More recently, we obtained new images of the HR 8799 system at L band during the AGPM first light on LMIRCam. After reviewing these first results obtained with mid-infrared AGPMs, we will discuss the short- and mid-term goals of the on-going VORTEX project, which aims to improve the performance of our vortex phase masks for future applications on second-generation high-contrast imager and on future extremely large telescopes (ELTs). In particular, we will briefly describe our current efforts to improve the manufacturing of mid-infrared AGPMs, to push their operation to shorter wavelengths, and to provide deeper starlight extinction by creating new designs for higher topological charge vortices. Within the VORTEX project, we also plan to develop new image processing techniques tailored to coronagraphic images, and to study some pre- and post-coronagraphic concepts adapted to the vortex coronagraph in order to reduce scattered starlight in the final images. [less ▲]

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See detailL'-band AGPM vector vortex coronagraph's first light on LBTI/LMIRCam
Defrere, Denis ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Hinz, P. et al

in Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering (2014, July 21)

We present the first observations obtained with the L'-band AGPM vortex coronagraph recently installed on LBTI/LMIRCam. The AGPM (Annular Groove Phase Mask) is a vector vortex coronagraph made from ... [more ▼]

We present the first observations obtained with the L'-band AGPM vortex coronagraph recently installed on LBTI/LMIRCam. The AGPM (Annular Groove Phase Mask) is a vector vortex coronagraph made from diamond subwavelength gratings. It is designed to improve the sensitivity and dynamic range of high-resolution imaging at very small inner working angles, down to 0.09 arcseconds in the case of LBTI/LMIRCam in the L' band. During the first hours on sky, we observed the young A5V star HR8799 with the goal to demonstrate the AGPM performance and assess its relevance for the ongoing LBTI planet survey (LEECH). Preliminary analyses of the data reveal the four known planets clearly at high SNR and provide unprecedented sensitivity limits in the inner planetary system (down to the diffraction limit of 0.09 arcseconds). © 2014 SPIE. [less ▲]

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See detailThe VORTEX coronagraphic test bench
Jolivet, Aïssa ULg; Piron, Pierre ULg; Huby, Elsa ULg et al

in Navarro, Ramon; Cunningham, Colin; Barto, Allison (Eds.) Advances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation (2014, July 18)

In this paper, we present the infrared coronagraphic test bench of the University of Liège named VODCA (Vortex Optical Demonstrator for Coronagraphic Applications). The goal of the bench is to assess the ... [more ▼]

In this paper, we present the infrared coronagraphic test bench of the University of Liège named VODCA (Vortex Optical Demonstrator for Coronagraphic Applications). The goal of the bench is to assess the performances of the Annular Groove Phase Masks (AGPMs) at near- to mid-infrared wavelengths. The AGPM is a subwavelength grating vortex coronagraph of charge two (SGVC2) made out of diamond. The bench is designed to be completely achromatic and will be composed of a super continuum laser source emitting in the near to mid-infrared, several parabolas, diaphragms and an infrared camera. This way, we will be able to test the different AGPMs in the M, L, K and H bands. Eventually, the bench will also allow the computation of the incident wavefront aberrations on the coronagraph. A reflective Lyot stop will send most of the stellar light to a second camera to perform low-order wavefront sensing. This second system coupled with a deformable mirror will allow the correction of the wavefront aberrations. We also aim to test other pre- and/or post-coronagraphic concepts such as optimal apodization. © (2014) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only. [less ▲]

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See detailDevelopment of a subwavelength grating vortex coronagraph of topological charge 4 (SGVC4)
Delacroix, Christian ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Carlomagno, Brunella ULg et al

in Ramsay, Suzanne; McLean, Ian; Takami, Hideki (Eds.) Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V (2014, July 08)

One possible solution to achieve high contrast direct imaging at a small inner working angle (IWA) is to use a vector vortex coronagraph (VVC), which provides a continuous helical phase ramp in the focal ... [more ▼]

One possible solution to achieve high contrast direct imaging at a small inner working angle (IWA) is to use a vector vortex coronagraph (VVC), which provides a continuous helical phase ramp in the focal plane of the telescope with a phase singularity in its center. Such an optical vortex is characterized by its topological charge, i.e., the number of times the phase accumulates 2pi radians along a closed path surrounding the singularity. Over the past few years, we have been developing a charge-2 VVC induced by rotationally symmetric subwavelength gratings (SGVC2), also known as the Annular Groove Phase Mask (AGPM). Since 2013, several SGVC2s (or AGPMs) were manufactured using synthetic diamond substrate, then validated on dedicated optical benches, and installed on 10-m class telescopes. Increasing the topological charge seems however mandatory for cancelling the light of bright stars which will be partially resolved by future Extremely Large Telescopes in the near-infrared. In this paper, we first detail our motivations for developing an SGVC4 (charge 4) dedicated to the near-infrared domain. The challenge lies in the design of the pattern which is unrealistic in the theoretically perfect case, due to state-of-the-art manufacturing limitations. Hence, we propose a new realistic design of SGVC4 with minimized discontinuities and optimized phase ramp, showing conclusive improvements over previous works in this field. A preliminary validation of our concept is given based on RCWA simulations, while full 3D finite-difference time-domain simulations (and eventually laboratory tests) will be required for a final validation. [less ▲]

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See detailMid-IR AGPMs for ELT applications
Carlomagno, Brunella ULg; Delacroix, Christian ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg et al

in Ramsay, Suzanne; McLean, Ian; Takami, Hideki (Eds.) Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V (2014, July 08)

The mid-infrared region is well suited for exoplanet detection thanks to the reduced contrast between the planet and its host star with respect to the visible and near-infrared wavelength regimes. This ... [more ▼]

The mid-infrared region is well suited for exoplanet detection thanks to the reduced contrast between the planet and its host star with respect to the visible and near-infrared wavelength regimes. This contrast may be further improved with Vector Vortex Coronagraphs (VVCs), which allow us to cancel the starlight. One flavour of the VVC is the AGPM (Annular Groove Phase Mask), which adds the interesting properties of subwavelength gratings (achromaticity, robustness) to the already known properties of the VVC. In this paper, we present the optimized designs, as well as the expected performances of mid-IR AGPMs etched onto synthetic diamond substrates, which are considered for the E-ELT/METIS instrument. [less ▲]

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See detailVery deep images of the innermost regions of the beta Pictoris debris disc at L'
Milli, J.; Lagrange, A.-M.; Mawet, D. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 566

Context. Very few debris discs have been imaged in scattered light at wavelengths beyond 3 mum because the thermal emission from both the sky and the telescope is generally too strong with respect to the ... [more ▼]

Context. Very few debris discs have been imaged in scattered light at wavelengths beyond 3 mum because the thermal emission from both the sky and the telescope is generally too strong with respect to the faint emission of a debris disc. We present here the first analysis of a high angular resolution image of the disc of beta Pictoris at 3.8 mum. <BR /> Aims: Our primary objective is to probe the innermost parts of the beta Pictoris debris disc and describe its morphology. We performed extensive forward modelling to correct for the biases induced by angular differential imaging on extended objects and derive the physical parameters of the disc. <BR /> Methods: This work relies on a new analysis of seven archival data sets of beta Pictoris observed with the NaCo instrument at the Very Large Telescope in the L' band, including observations made with the Annular Groove Phase Mask vortex coronagraph in 2013. The data analysis consists of angular differential imaging associated with disc forward modelling to correct for the biases induced by that technique. The disc model is subtracted from the data and the reduction performed again in order to minimize the residuals in the final image. <BR /> Results: The disc is detected above a 5sigma level between 0.4'' and 3.8''. The two extensions have a similar brightness within error bars. We confirm an asymmetry previously observed at larger distances from the star and at shorter wavelengths: the isophotes are more widely spaced [less ▲]

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See detailObserving the Sun with micro-interferometric devices: a didactic experiment
Defrere, Denis ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Hanot, C. et al

in Surdej, Jean; Le Coroller, Hervé; Arnold, Luc (Eds.) Improving the Performances of Current Optical Interferometers & Future Designs (2014, April 01)

Measuring the angular diameter of celestial bodies has long been the main purpose of stellar interferometry and was its historical motivation. Nowadays, stellar interferometry is widely used for various ... [more ▼]

Measuring the angular diameter of celestial bodies has long been the main purpose of stellar interferometry and was its historical motivation. Nowadays, stellar interferometry is widely used for various other scientific purposes that require very high angular resolution measurements. In terms of angular spatial scales probed, o [less ▲]

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See detailPIONIER : A Four Telescope VLTI Instrument
Lazareff, B.; Le Bouquin, J.-L.; Berger, J.-P. et al

in Surdej, Jean; Le Coroller, Hervé; Arnold, Luc (Eds.) Improving the Performances of Current Optical Interferometers & Future Designs (2014, April 01)

Pionier is a guest instrument, the first four-telescope recombiner at ESO's VLTI. We discuss salient design features and illustrate selected scientific results from the fi

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See detailmaking the most of the LBTI nulling interferometry observations using a statistical data reduction method
Marion, Lindsay ULg; Mennesson, Bertrand; Defrere, Denis ULg et al

Poster (2014, March 20)

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See detailThe Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Planetary Systems (HOSTS)
Defrere, Denis ULg; Hinz, P.; Bryden, G. et al

Conference (2014, March)

The presence of large amounts of exozodiacal dust around nearby main sequence stars is considered as a potential threat for the direct imaging of Earth-like exoplanets and, hence, the search for ... [more ▼]

The presence of large amounts of exozodiacal dust around nearby main sequence stars is considered as a potential threat for the direct imaging of Earth-like exoplanets and, hence, the search for biosignatures (Roberge et al. 2012). However, it is also considered as a signpost for the presence of terrestrial planets that might be hidden in the dust disk (Stark and Kuchner 2008). Characterizing exozodiacal dust around nearby sequence stars is therefore a crucial step toward one of the main goals of modern astronomy: finding extraterrestrial life. After briefly reviewing the latest results in this field, we present the exozodiacal dust survey on the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI). The survey is called HOSTS and is specifically designed to determine the prevalence and brightness of exozodiacal dust disks with the sensitivity required to prepare for future New Worlds Missions that will image Earth-like exoplanets. To achieve this objective, the LBTI science team has carefully established a balanced list of 50 nearby main-sequence stars that are likely candidates of these missions and/or can be observed with the best instrument performance (see companion abstract by Roberge et al.). Exozodiacal dust disk candidates detected by the Keck Interferometer Nuller will also be observed. The first results of the survey will be presented. To precisely detect exozodiacal dust, the LBTI combines the two 8-m primary mirrors of the LBT using N-band nulling interferometry. Interferometric combination provides the required angular resolution (70-90 mas) to resolve the habitable zone of nearby main sequence stars while nulling is used to subtract the stellar light and reach the required contrast of a few 10-4. A Kband fringe tracker ensures the stability of the null. The current performance of the instrument and the first nulling measurements will be presented. [less ▲]

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See detailL'-band AGPM vector vortex coronagraph's first light on LBTI/LMIRCAM
Defrere, Denis ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Hinz, P. et al

Poster (2014, March)

We present the first science observations obtained with the L'-band AGPM coronagraph recently installed on LBTI/LMIRCAM. The AGPM (Annular Groove Phase Mask) is a vector vortex coronagraph made from ... [more ▼]

We present the first science observations obtained with the L'-band AGPM coronagraph recently installed on LBTI/LMIRCAM. The AGPM (Annular Groove Phase Mask) is a vector vortex coronagraph made from diamond sub-wavelength gratings tuned to the L'-band. It is designed to improve the sensitivity and dynamic range of high-resolution imaging at very small inner working a [less ▲]

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See detailAlignment in star-debris disc systems seen by Herschel
Greaves, J. S.; Kennedy, G. M.; Thureau, N. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society : Letters (2014), 438

Many nearby main-sequence stars have been searched for debris using the far-infrared Herschel satellite, within the DEBRIS, DUNES and Guaranteed-Time Key Projects. We discuss here 11 stars of spectral ... [more ▼]

Many nearby main-sequence stars have been searched for debris using the far-infrared Herschel satellite, within the DEBRIS, DUNES and Guaranteed-Time Key Projects. We discuss here 11 stars of spectral types A-M where the stellar inclination is known and can be compared to that of the spatially resolved dust belts. The discs are found to be well aligned with the stellar equators, as in the case of the Sun's Kuiper belt, and unlike many close-in planets seen in transit surveys. The ensemble of stars here can be fitted with a star-disc tilt of ≲ 10°. These results suggest that proposed mechanisms for tilting the star or disc in fact operate rarely. A few systems also host imaged planets, whose orbits at tens of au are aligned with the debris discs, contrary to what might be expected in models where external perturbers induce tilts. [less ▲]

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See detailUnraveling the Mystery of Exozodiacal Dust
Ertel, S.; Augereau, J.-C.; Thébault, P. et al

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

Exozodiacal dust clouds are thought to be the extrasolar analogs of the Solar System's zodiacal dust. Studying these systems provides insights in the architecture of the innermost regions of planetary ... [more ▼]

Exozodiacal dust clouds are thought to be the extrasolar analogs of the Solar System's zodiacal dust. Studying these systems provides insights in the architecture of the innermost regions of planetary systems, including the Habitable Zone. Furthermore, the mere presence of the dust may result in major obstacles for direct imaging of earth-like planets. Our EXOZODI project aims to detect and study exozodiacal dust and to explain its origin. We are carrying out the first large, near-infrared interferometric survey in the northern (CHARA/FLUOR) and southern (VLTI/PIONIER) hemispheres. Preliminary results suggest a detection rate of up to 30% around A to K type stars and interesting trends with spectral type and age. We focus here on presenting the observational work carried out by our team. [less ▲]

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See detailCompanion search around β Pictoris with the newly commissioned L'-band vector vortex coronagraph on VLT/NACO
Mawet, D.; Absil, Olivier ULg; Milli, J. et al

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

Here we present the installation and successful commissioning of an L'-band Annular Groove Phase Mask (AGPM) coronagraph on VLT/NACO. The AGPM is a vector vortex coronagraph made from diamond ... [more ▼]

Here we present the installation and successful commissioning of an L'-band Annular Groove Phase Mask (AGPM) coronagraph on VLT/NACO. The AGPM is a vector vortex coronagraph made from diamond subwavelength gratings tuned to the L' band. The vector vortex coronagraph enables high contrast imaging at very small inner working angle (here 0''.09, the diffraction limit of the VLT at L'), potentially being the key to a new parameter space. During technical and science verification runs, we discovered a late-type companion at two beamwidths from an F0V star (Mawet et al. 2013), and imaged the inner regions of β Pictoris down to the previously unexplored projected radius of 1.75 AU. The circumstellar disk was also resolved from ~= 1'' to 5'' (see J. Milli et al., these proceedings). These results showcase the potential of the NACO L-band AGPM over a wide range of spatial scales. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst High-Angular Resolution L' Images of the β Pictoris Debris Disc with the VLT / NaCo
Milli, Julien; Mawet, Dimitri; Absil, Olivier ULg et al

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

Imaging debris discs in the L'-band (3.8 μm) is a difficult task. Quasi-static speckles from imperfect optics prevail below 1'' whereas background emission is the dominant noise source beyond that ... [more ▼]

Imaging debris discs in the L'-band (3.8 μm) is a difficult task. Quasi-static speckles from imperfect optics prevail below 1'' whereas background emission is the dominant noise source beyond that separation and is much larger than at shorter wavelengths. We demonstrate here the potential of the newly commissioned AGPM coronograph on VLT/NaCo combined with advanced star and sky subtraction technique based on Principal Component Analysis, and we analyze the morphology of the β Pictoris disc. [less ▲]

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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 detailHitting the diffraction limit: first results of the AGPM-VORTEX project
Absil, Olivier ULg

Conference (2013, December 10)

During the last 8 years, we have been developing an implementation of the vector vortex coronagraph based on sub-wavelength gratings, referred to as the Annular Groove Phase Mask (AGPM). Science-grade mid ... [more ▼]

During the last 8 years, we have been developing an implementation of the vector vortex coronagraph based on sub-wavelength gratings, referred to as the Annular Groove Phase Mask (AGPM). Science-grade mid-infrared AGPMs were produced in 2012, and three of them have recently been installed on world-leading diffraction-limited infrared cameras (VLT/NACO, VLT/VISIR and LBT/LMIRCam). In this talk, we will present the first results of this endeavor. During science verification observations with our L-band AGPM on VLT/NACO, we observed the beta Pictoris system and obtained unprecedented sensitivity limits to planetary companions down to the diffraction limit (0.1”). We also obtained new images of the beta Pic debris disk at L band, which nicely bridge the gap between images obtained at shorter and longer wavelengths. These results urged us to reconsider the very definition of companion detection limits at very short angles, which will become more and more critical as next-generation high-contrast imaging instruments come online. We will conclude by discussing the future orientations of the AGPM-VORTEX project, including the development of second-generation vector vortex phase masks providing an even deeper and more achromatic starlight cancellation for ELT applications. [less ▲]

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See detailExpanding the CHARA/FLUOR hot disk survey
Mennesson, B.; Scott, N.; Ten Brummelaar, T. et al

in Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation (2013), 2(2), 1340010

Little is presently known about the hot (>300 K) dust component of debris disks surrounding main sequence stars, similar to the zodiacal dust cloud found in the inner solar system.While extensive surveys ... [more ▼]

Little is presently known about the hot (>300 K) dust component of debris disks surrounding main sequence stars, similar to the zodiacal dust cloud found in the inner solar system.While extensive surveys have been carried out from space, the majority of detections have surprisingly come from the ground, where near infrared interferometric observations have recently revealed small (∼1%) resolved excesses around a dozen nearby main sequence stars. Most of these results have come from the CHARA array “FLUOR” instrument (Mt. Wilson, CA), which has demonstrated the best sensitivity worldwide so far for this type of studies, and has carried out an initial survey of ∼40 stars. In order to further understand the origin of this “hot dust phenomenon”, we will extend this initial survey to a larger number of stars and lower excess detection limits, i.e. higher visibility accuracy providing higher contrast measurements. To this end, two major instrumental developments are underway at CHARA. The first one aims at improving FLUOR’s sensitivity to a median K-band magnitude limit of 5 (making 200 targets available). The second development is based on a method that we recently developed for accurate (better than 0.1%) null depth measurements of stars, and that can be extended to regular interferometric visibility measurements. [less ▲]

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See detailSearching for companions down to 2 AU from β Pictoris using the L'-band AGPM coronagraph on VLT/NACO
Absil, Olivier ULg; Milli, J.; Mawet, D. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013), 559

Context. The orbit of the giant planet discovered around β Pic is slightly inclined with respect to the outer parts of the debris disc, which creates a warp in the inner debris disc. This inclination ... [more ▼]

Context. The orbit of the giant planet discovered around β Pic is slightly inclined with respect to the outer parts of the debris disc, which creates a warp in the inner debris disc. This inclination might be explained by gravitational interactions with other planets. <BR /> Aims: We aim to search for additional giant planets located at smaller angular separations from the star. <BR /> Methods: We used the new L'-band AGPM coronagraph on VLT/NACO, which provides an exquisite inner working angle. A long observing sequence was obtained on β Pic in pupil-tracking mode. To derive sensitivity limits, the collected images were processed using a principal-component analysis technique specifically tailored to angular differential imaging. <BR /> Results: No additional planet is detected down to an angular separation of 0.''2with a sensitivity better than 5 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB]. Meaningful upper limits (<10 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB]) are derived down to an angular separation of 0.''1, which corresponds to 2 AU at the distance of β Pic. [less ▲]

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