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NEAR: New Earths in the Alpha Cen Region (bringing VISIR as a "visiting instrument" to ESO-VLT-UT4)

Käufl, Hans-Ulrich and Kasper, Markus and Arsenault, Robin and Jakob, Gerd and Leveratto, Serban and Zins, Gérard and Fuenteseca, Eloy and Riquelme, Miguel and Siebenmorgen, Ralf and Sterzik, Michael and Ageorges, Nancy and Gutruf, Sven and Kampf, Dirk and Reutlinger, Arnd and Absil, Olivier and Carlomagno, Brunella and Guyon, Olivier and Klupar, Peter and Mawet, Dimitri and Ruane, Garreth and Karlsson, Mikael and Pantin, Eric and Dohlen, Kjetil (2018) NEAR: New Earths in the Alpha Cen Region (bringing VISIR as a "visiting instrument" to ESO-VLT-UT4). In: Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII. Proceedings of SPIE. No.10702. Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) , Bellingham, WA, Art. No. 107020D. ISBN 9781510619579.

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By adding a dedicated coronagraph, ESO in collaboration with the Breakthrough Initiatives, modifies the Very Large Telescope mid-IR imager (VISIR) to further boost the high dynamic range imaging capability this instru- ment has. After the VISIR upgrade in 2012, where coronagraphic masks were first added to VISIR, it became evident that coronagraphy at a ground-based 8m-class telescope critically needs adaptive optics, even at wavelengths as long as 10μm. For VISIR, a work-horse observatory facility instrument in normal operations, this is ”easiest” achieved by bringing VISIR as a visiting instrument to the ESO-VLT-UT4 having an adaptive M2. This “visit” enables a meaningful search for Earth-like planets in the habitable zone around both α-Cen1,2. Meaningful here means, achieving a contrast of ≈ 10^(-6) within ≈ 0.8arcsec from the star while maintaining basically the normal sensitivity of VISIR. This should allow to detect a planet twice the diameter of Earth. Key components will be a diffractive coronagraphic mask, the annular groove phase mask (AGPM), optimized for the most sensitive spectral band-pass in the N-band, complemented by a sophisticated apodizer at the level of the Lyot stop. For VISIR noise filtering based on fast chopping is required. A novel internal chopper system will be integrated into the cryostat. This chopper is based on the standard technique from early radio astronomy, conceived by the microwave pioneer Robert Dicke in 1946, which was instrumental for the discovery of the 3K radio background.

Item Type:Book Section
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Absil, Olivier0000-0002-4006-6237
Guyon, Olivier0000-0002-1097-9908
Mawet, Dimitri0000-0002-8895-4735
Ruane, Garreth0000-0003-4769-1665
Karlsson, Mikael0000-0002-2011-0851
Additional Information:© 2018 Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). This project was only possible with the enthusiastic support of many staff at ESO, but also in the community. Of particular importance is a grant by the Breakthrough Initiatives and the generous offer of DDT by ESO's Director General.
Group:Astronomy Department
Subject Keywords:exo-Earth, alpha-Cen, habitable zone, coronagraphy, apodization, extreme AO, thermal infrared
Series Name:Proceedings of SPIE
Issue or Number:10702
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190107-142202163
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Hans-Ulrich Käufl, Markus Kasper, Robin Arsenault, Gerd Jakob, Serban Leveratto, Gerard Zins, Eloy Fuenteseca, Miguel Riquelme, Ralf Siebenmorgen, Michael Sterzik, Nancy Ageorges, Sven Gutruf, Dirk Kampf, Arnd Reutlinger, Olivier Absil, Brunella Carlomagno, Olivier Guyon, Pete Klupar, Dimitri Mawet, Garreth Ruane, Mikael Karlsson, Eric Pantin, Kjetil Dohlen, "NEAR: new earths in the Alpha Cen Region (bringing VISIR as a "visiting instrument" to ESO-VLT-UT4)," Proc. SPIE 10702, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII, 107020D (6 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2313395
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:92119
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:07 Jan 2019 23:26
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 03:47

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