25 October 2004 Laser guide star adaptive optics imaging polarimetry of Herbig Ae/Be stars
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Current and future large telescopes depend critically on laser guide star adaptive optics (LGS AO) to achieve their scientific goals. However, there are still relatively few scientific results reported from existing LGS AO systems. We present some of the first science results from the Lick Observatory sodium beacon LGS AO system. We achieve high sensitivity to light scattered in the circumstellar enviroment of Herbig Ae/Be stars on scales of 100-200 AU by coupling the LGS AO system to a near-infrared (J,H,Ks bands) dual channel imaging polarimeter. We describe the design, implementation, and performance of this instrument. The dominant noise source near bright stars in AO images is a "seeing halo" of uncorrected speckles, and since these speckles are unpolarized, dual-channel polarimetry achieves a significant contrast gain. Our observations reveal a wide range of morphologies, including bipolar nebulosities with and without outflow-evacuated cavities and disk-mediated interaction among members of a binary. These data suggest that the evolutionary picture developed for the lower-mass T Tauri stars is also relevant to the Herbig Ae/Be stars, and demonstrate the ability of LGS AO systems to enhance the scientific capabilities of even modest sized telescopes.
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Marshall D. Perrin, Marshall D. Perrin, James R. Graham, James R. Graham, Paul Kalas, Paul Kalas, James P. Lloyd, James P. Lloyd, Claire E. Max, Claire E. Max, Donald T. Gavel, Donald T. Gavel, Deanna M. Pennington, Deanna M. Pennington, Elinor L. Gates, Elinor L. Gates, } "Laser guide star adaptive optics imaging polarimetry of Herbig Ae/Be stars", Proc. SPIE 5490, Advancements in Adaptive Optics, (25 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.551932; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.551932


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