We propose a millisecond of arc optical/infrared array for stellar territory, MIRA-ST, with nine 4m-aperture off-axis telescopes, whose maximum baseline length is about 600 m. MIRA-ST will have the photon collecting area equivalent to that of a single-dish telescope of 12 m diameter, and the imaging capability better than 1 millisecond of arc resolution at 2.2 micrometers with a high dynamic range of reconstructed images.
Combining the light beams from each pupil telescope efficiently is one of the most difficult tasks. We compare the relative merits among a so-called pair-wise beam combining, an all-on-one beam combining, and a tree-structured beam combining. As for transferring the beams from individual telescopes to a beam combining facility with the loss of photons as small as possible, an optical fiber system is a most interesting substitute for the current mirror-and-vacuum-pipe combination. Specifically, the nature of spatial filtering of optical fibers has been under study in the light of deepening the limiting magnitude attainable without introducing an adaptive optics to each telescope.
With MIRA-ST we will be able to zoom in the stellar territory to unveil the detailed structures and lifecycles of stars of various kinds, and to examine the universality and/or diversity along the coarse of their evolutionary paths. The specific targets of most interesting for us are, among others, T Tauri stars, AGB and post-AGB stars, Cepheids, brown dwarfs, white dwarfs, stellar atmosphere/envelope of low temperature stars, accretion disks, and fundamental structures of main sequence stars.