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Nulling Data Reduction and On-sky Performance of the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer

Defrère, D. and Millan-Gabet, R. and Nowak, M. (2016) Nulling Data Reduction and On-sky Performance of the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer. Astrophysical Journal, 824 (2). Art. No. 66. ISSN 0004-637X.

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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.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Defrère, D.0000-0003-3499-2506
Millan-Gabet, R.0000-0003-0447-5866
Additional Information:© 2016 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2015 November 20; accepted 2016 January 27; published 2016 June 14. The authors are grateful to M. Colavita for helpful discussions on fringe sensing and nulling data reduction. The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer is funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of its Exoplanet Exploration Program. The LBT is an international collaboration among institutions in the United States, Italy, and Germany. LBT Corporation partners are: The University of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona university system; Instituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Italy; LBT Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Germany, representing the Max-Planck Society, the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, and Heidelberg University; The Ohio State University, and The Research Corporation, on behalf of The University of Notre Dame, University of Minnesota and University of Virginia. This publication makes use of data products from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. M.W. and G.K. acknowledge the support of the European Union through ERC grant number 279973.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Research Council (ERC)279973
Subject Keywords:circumstellar matter – techniques: interferometric – zodiacal dust
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160916-074753132
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Official Citation:D. Defrère et al 2016 ApJ 824 66
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:70384
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:20 Sep 2016 01:50
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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