25 October 2004 Suppressing speckle noise for simultaneous differential extrasolar planet imaging (SDI) at the VLT and MMT
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We discuss data reduction techniques and results from the Simultaneous Differential Imager (SDI) implemented at the VLT (Lenzen et al. 2004a) and the MMT. SDI uses a quad filter to take images simultaneously at 3 wavelengths surrounding the 1.62 μm methane bandhead found in the spectrum of cool brown dwarfs and gas giants. By performing a difference of images in these filters, speckle noise from the primary can be attenuated by a factor of >102. Non-trivial data reduction tools are necessary to pipeline the simultaneous differential imaging. Here we discuss a custom algorithm implemented in IDL to perform this reduction. The script performs basic data reduction tasks but also precisely aligns images taken in each of the filters using a custom shift and subtract routine. In our commissioning runs at the VLT and MMT, we achieved contrasts up to a factor of 45000 (ΔH=11.7) at a separation of 0.6" from the primary star. With this degree of attenuation, we should be able to image a 2-4 Jupiter mass planet at 5 AU around a 30 Myr star at 10 pc. We believe that our SDI images are the highest contrast astronomical images ever made from ground or space.
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Beth A. Biller, Beth A. Biller, Laird Close, Laird Close, Rainer Lenzen, Rainer Lenzen, Wolfgang Brandner, Wolfgang Brandner, Donald W. McCarthy, Donald W. McCarthy, Eric Nielsen, Eric Nielsen, Markus Hartung, Markus Hartung, "Suppressing speckle noise for simultaneous differential extrasolar planet imaging (SDI) at the VLT and MMT", Proc. SPIE 5490, Advancements in Adaptive Optics, (25 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.552164; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.552164

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