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Content archived on 2024-05-27

Optics in astrophysics


Among the forthcoming most challenging topics in astrophysics are the search for exoplanets and exobiology, the understanding of star and planet formation and the identification of the formation of galaxies in the early Universe. All are highly demanding on the observational tools. To address them, tools and methods of observations must take a major leap.

Studies for extremely large telescopes (50 and 100m in diameter) have begun to be carried on in Europe, as well as ground based or space large optical telescope arrays. New technologies must be developed to set up and phase such large optical surfaces. Also, optical components or the way to handle photons will need breakthroughs from ongoing and coming researches and developments in optical fields: e.g. adaptive optics with ~ 1000 times more actuators than for current 8m telescopes are required for diffraction limited imaging at a future 100m telescope.

New kinds of instruments are emerging, as chronographs to evidence very faint companions close to bright sources, with stringent requirements to avoid scattered light. Giant spectrographs will be built: how and with which dispersive optics? Detectors are concerned as well; at least 100 times more pixels than required for the European VLT will be necessary. Of course data processing algorithms, in particular image restoration and de-convolution will have to evolve accordingly.

The School aims at teaching young researchers of both astrophysical and optical communities who are to play an important role within these long-term fascinating projects. The guideline of the main themes is first to rely on the underlying physics involved in methods or techniques used at or for telescopes. Then the current state of the art in the industry and the major trends of the R&D in the laboratories will be reviewed. A one-day tutorial and at least one full hour per day devoted to discussions should strengthen interactions between students and lecturers.

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Avenue Charles Andre 9

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