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13 June 2006 Astronomical near-neighbor detection with a four-quadrant phase mask (FQPM) coronagraph
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Direct detection of planets around nearby stars requires the development of high-contrast imaging techniques, because of their very different respective fluxes. We thus investigated the innovative coronagraphic approach based on the use of a four-quadrant phase mask (FQPM). Simulations showed that, combined with high-level wavefront correction on an unobscured off-axis section of a large telescope, this method allows high-contrast imaging very close to stars, with detection capability superior to that of a traditional coronagraph. A FQPM instrument was thus built to test the feasibility of near-neighbor observations with our new off-axis approach on a ground-based telescope. In June 2005, we deployed our instrument to the Palomar 200-inch telescope, using existing facilities as much as possible for rapid implementation. In these initial observations, using data processing techniques specific to FQPM coronagraphs, we reached extinction levels of the order of 200:1. Here we discuss our simulations and on-sky results obtained so far.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Pierre Haguenauer, Eugene Serabyn, Bertrand Mennesson, James K. Wallace, Robert O. Gappinger, Mitchell Troy, Eric E. Bloemhof, Jim Moore, and Chris D. Koresko "Astronomical near-neighbor detection with a four-quadrant phase mask (FQPM) coronagraph", Proc. SPIE 6265, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter, 62651G (13 June 2006);

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