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27 July 2018 High-contrast imaging of tight resolved binaries with two vector vortex coronagraphs in cascade with the Palomar SDC instrument
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More than half of the stars in the solar neighborhood reside in binary/multiple stellar systems, and recent studies suggest that gas giant planets may be more abundant around binaries than single stars. Yet, these multiple systems are usually overlooked or discarded in most direct imaging surveys, as they prove difficult to image at high-contrast using coronographs. This is particularly the case for compact binaries (less than 1’’ angular separation) with similar stellar magnitudes, where no existing coronagraph can provide high-contrast regime. Here we present preliminary results of an on-going Palomar pilot survey searching for low-mass companions around ~15 young “challenging” binary systems, with angular separation as close as 0’’3 and near-equal K-band magnitudes. We use the Stellar Double Coronagraph (SDC) instrument on the 200-inch Telescope in a modified optical configuration, making it possible to align any targeted binary system behind two vector vortex coronagraphs in cascade. This approach is uniquely possible at Palomar, thanks to the absence of sky rotation combined with the availability of an extreme AO system, and the number of intermediate focalplanes provided by the SDC instrument. Finally, we expose our current data reduction strategy, and we attempt to quantify the exact contrast gain parameter space of our approach, based on our latest observing runs.
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Jonas Kühn, Sebastian Daemgen, Ji Wang, Farisa Morales, Michael Bottom, Eugene Serabyn, Jean C. Shelton, Jacques-Robert Delorme, and Samaporn Tinyanont "High-contrast imaging of tight resolved binaries with two vector vortex coronagraphs in cascade with the Palomar SDC instrument", Proc. SPIE 10702, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII, 1070242 (27 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2313448;


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