Periodic Reporting for period 4 - LITHIUM (From planetary birth with aperture masking interferometry to nulling with Lithium Niobate technology)
Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-02-29
- The first work-package consists in using existing facilities to gather more data using a technique called aperture-masking. We used the NACO, GPI, and SPHERE instruments to get more data on several young debris-disks. We looked for planets in those disks, but couldn’t find any. We also realized that the combination of aperture-masking and mid-infrared observations excels at characterising planetary disks. This was shown on the young object IRS48, with an article written by G. Schworer as lead author.
- We have commissioned the aperture mask for the SPHERE instrument. It is now available to the astronomical community. We have installed the FIRST instrument on the SUBARU telescope.
- We worked with IXBLue and TeemPhotonics to develop new beam combiners, which improve the accuracy of aperture-masking instruments. The instrument on which these combiners are tested, FIRST, is under completion, and uses special monomode fibers to filter the light and reach unprecedented accuracy. We plan to install it on the SUBARU telescope in June 2018.
- Last, we have striven to meet the deadline of the transit of the young planet Beta Pictoris b. This is an event which only happens every 23 years, and which will allow us to directly confront formation models with observations. Beta Pictoris b is specific because of its young age, its proximity to our stellar system, and the inclination of its orbit relative to our line of sight. We have used the technique that we developed for FIRST to miniaturise a detection system within the space available in a 3U CubeSat.
- Last, as extra, we have detected, for the first time, an exoplanet by optical interferometry (HR8799e).