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Published March 2018 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

An H-band Vector Vortex Coronagraph for the Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics System


The vector vortex is a coronagraphic imaging mode of the recently commissioned Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) platform on the 8 m Subaru Telescope. This multi-purpose high-contrast visible and near-infrared (R- to K-band) instrument is not only intended to serve as a VLT-class "planet-imager" instrument in the northern hemisphere, but also to operate as a technology demonstration testbed ahead of the ELTs-era, with a particular emphasis on small inner-working angle (IWA) coronagraphic capabilities. The given priority to small-IWA imaging led to the early design choice to incorporate focal-plane phase-mask coronagraphs. In this context, a test H-band vector vortex liquid crystal polymer waveplate was provided to SCExAO, to allow a one-to-one comparison of different small-IWA techniques on the same telescope instrument, before considering further steps. Here we present a detailed overview of the vector vortex coronagraph, from its installation and performances on the SCExAO optical bench, to the on-sky results in the extreme AO regime, as of late 2016/early 2017. To this purpose, we also provide a few recent on-sky imaging examples, notably high-contrast ADI detection of the planetary-mass companion κ Andromedae b, with a signal-to-noise ratio above 100 reached in less than 10 mn exposure time.

Additional Information

© 2018. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Received 2017 November 3; accepted 2017 December 5; published 2018 January 29. Part of this work was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA. The vortex coronagraph presented herein is a loaned part by JPL to the SCExAO instrument team. The development of SCExAO was supported by the JSPS (Grant-in-Aid for Research #23340051, #26220704, #23103002), the Astrobiology Center (ABC) of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Japan, the Mt. Cuba Foundation and the directors contingency fund at Subaru Telescope. J.K. and J.H. are/were supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) for this work, through the grants #PZ00P2_154800 and #PA00P2_136416 for J.K., and #P2GEP2_151842 for J.H.. We wish to emphasize the pivotal cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the privilege to conduct scientific observations from this mountain.

Attached Files

Published - Kuhn_2018_PASP_130_035001.pdf

Submitted - 1712_02040.pdf


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September 29, 2023
October 24, 2023