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9 June 1994 Current status of the IOTA interferometer
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The first two telescopes of the Infrared-Optical Telescope Array (IOTA) project are now in place and yielding data at the Smithsonian Institution's F. L. Whipple Observatory on Mt. Hopkins, near Tucson, Arizona. The IOTA collectors are 45 cm in diameter, and may be moved to various stations in an L-shaped configuration with a maximum baseline of 38 m. A third collector will be added as soon as funding permits. Each light-collector assembly consists of a siderostat feeding a stationary afocal Cassegrain telescope that produces a 10-X reduced parallel beam, which is in turn directed vertically downward by a piezo-driven active mirror that stabilizes the ultimate image position. The reduced beams enter an evacuated envelope and proceed to the corner of the array, where they are turned back along one arm for path compensation. The delay line, in one beam, consists of two parts: one dihedral reflector positioned in a slew-and-clamp mode to give the major part of the desired delay; and a second dihedral mounted on an air-bearing carriage to provide the variable delay that is needed. After delay, the beams exit from the vacuum and are directed by dichroic mirrors into the infrared beam-combination and detection system. The visible light passes on to another area, to the image-tracker detectors and the visible-light combination and detection system. The beams are combined in pupil-plane mode on beam splitters. The combined IR beams are conveyed to two cooled single-element InSb detectors. The combined visible-light beams are focussed by lenslet arrays onto multimode optical fibers that lead to the slit of a specially-designed prism spectrometer. For the visible mode, the delay line is run at several wavelengths on one side of the zero- path point, so that several cycles of interference occur across the spectrum. First results were obtained with the IR system, giving visibilities for several K and M stars, using 2.2 micrometers radiation on a N-S baseline of 21.2 m. From these measurements we obtained preliminary estimates of effective stellar diameters in the K band.
© (1994) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.


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