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Enabling the direct detection of earth-sized exoplanets with the LBTI HOSTS project: a progress report

Danchi, W. and Bailey, V. and Bryden, G. and Defrère, D. and Ertel, S. and Haniff, C. and Hinz, P. and Kennedy, G. and Mennesson, B. and Millan-Gabet, R. and Rieke, G. and Roberge, A. and Serabyn, E. and Skemer, A. and Stapelfeldt, K. and Weinberger, A. and Wyatt, M. and Vaz, A. (2016) Enabling the direct detection of earth-sized exoplanets with the LBTI HOSTS project: a progress report. In: Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging V. Proceedings of SPIE. No.9907. Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) , Bellingham, WA, Art. No. 990713. ISBN 9781510601932.

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NASA has funded a project called the Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Systems (HOSTS) to survey nearby solar type stars to determine the amount of warm zodiacal dust in their habitable zones. The goal is not only to determine the luminosity distribution function but also to know which individual stars have the least amount of zodiacal dust. It is important to have this information for future missions that directly image exoplanets as this dust is the main source of astrophysical noise for them. The HOSTS project utilizes the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI), which consists of two 8.4-m apertures separated by a 14.4-m baseline on Mt. Graham, Arizona. The LBTI operates in a nulling mode in the mid-infrared spectral window (8-13 μm), in which light from the two telescopes is coherently combined with a 180 degree phase shift between them, producing a dark fringe at the location of the target star. In doing so the starlight is greatly reduced, increasing the contrast, analogous to a coronagraph operating at shorter wavelengths. The LBTI is a unique instrument, having only three warm reflections before the starlight reaches cold mirrors, giving it the best photometric sensitivity of any interferometer operating in the mid-infrared. It also has a superb Adaptive Optics (AO) system giving it Strehl ratios greater than 98% at 10 μm. In 2014 into early 2015 LBTI was undergoing commissioning. The HOSTS project team passed its Operational Readiness Review (ORR) in April 2015. The team recently published papers on the target sample, modeling of the nulled disk images, and initial results such as the detection of warm dust around η Corvi. Recently a paper was published on the data pipeline and on-sky performance. An additional paper is in preparation on β Leo. We will discuss the scientific and programmatic context for the LBTI project, and we will report recent progress, new results, and plans for the science verification phase that started in February 2016, and for the survey.

Item Type:Book Section
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Bailey, V.0000-0002-5407-2806
Defrère, D.0000-0003-3499-2506
Ertel, S.0000-0002-2314-7289
Hinz, P.0000-0002-1954-4564
Kennedy, G.0000-0001-6831-7547
Mennesson, B.0000-0003-4205-4800
Millan-Gabet, R.0000-0003-0447-5866
Rieke, G.0000-0003-2303-6519
Roberge, A.0000-0002-2989-3725
Skemer, A.0000-0001-6098-3924
Stapelfeldt, K.0000-0002-2805-7338
Weinberger, A.0000-0001-6654-7859
Additional Information:© 2016 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). The research described in this paper is supported by the Astrophysics Division of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory, and by a grant from the European Union through ERC grant number 279973 (GMK & MCW).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Large Binocular Telescope ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)279973
Subject Keywords:debris disks, exozodiacal dust, stellar interferometry, nulling interferometry, exoplanet detection, infrared astronomy
Series Name:Proceedings of SPIE
Issue or Number:9907
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180709-103707620
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:W. Danchi, V. Bailey, G. Bryden, D. Defrère, S. Ertel, C. Haniff, P. Hinz, G. Kennedy, B. Mennesson, R. Millan-Gabet, G. Rieke, A. Roberge, E. Serabyn, A. Skemer, K. Stapelfeldt, A. Weinberger, M. Wyatt, A. Vaz, "Enabling the direct detection of earth-sized exoplanets with the LBTI HOSTS project: a progress report", Proc. SPIE 9907, Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging V, 990713 (8 August 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233397;
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:87640
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:09 Jul 2018 17:56
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:50

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