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20 October 2004 KEOPS: Kiloparsec Explorer for Optical Planet Search, a direct-imaging optical array at Dome C of Antarctica
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Recent site seeing testing campaigns conducted by our team from University of Nice1 show that Dome C represents the best site on Earth for astronomical high angular resolution (HAR) observations at optical and IR wavelengths. The dramatic gain over relevant HAR parameters r0, L0, θ0 and τ0, added to very low temperatures during the polar winter nights (-70°C), the dry atmosphere and the possibility of continuous observations during several nights make Dome C the ideal site for deploying a kilometric optical interferometer before the 2015 horizon. Here we describe the concept of Kiloparsec Explorer for Optical Planet Search (KEOPS) that is studied by our group at LUAN. KEOPS is an interferometric array of 36 off-axis telescopes, each 1.5m in diameter. Its kilometric baselines open sub-mas snap-shot imaging possibilities to detect and characterize extra-solar planetary systems, especially exo-Earths out to 300 parsecs from the visible to the thermal IR. KEOPS can be considered as a DARWIN/TPF challenger but at a much lower cost.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Farrokh Vakili, Adrian Belu, Eric Aristidi, Eric Fossat, A. Maillard, Lyu Abe, Karim Agabi, Jean Vernin, Jean Baptiste Daban, Wilfried Hertmanni, Francois-Xavier Schmider, Pierre Assus, Vincent Coude du Foresto, and Mark R. Swain "KEOPS: Kiloparsec Explorer for Optical Planet Search, a direct-imaging optical array at Dome C of Antarctica", Proc. SPIE 5491, New Frontiers in Stellar Interferometry, (20 October 2004);


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