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25 October 2004 The Lyot project: toward exoplanet imaging and spectroscopy
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Among the adaptive optics systems available to astronomers, the US Air Force Advanced Electro-Optical System (AEOS) is unique because it delivers very high order wave front correction. The Lyot Project includes the construction and installation of the world’s first diffraction-limited, optimized coronagraph that exploits the full astronomical potential of AEOS and represents a critical step toward the long-term goal of directly imaging and studying extrasolar planets (a.k.a. “exoplanets”). We provide an update on the Project, whose coronagraph saw first light in March 2004. The coronagraph is operating at least as well as predicted by simulations, and a survey of nearby stars has begun.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.

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