12 September 2012 Concept study of an Extremely Large Hyper Telescope (ELHyT) with 1200m sparse aperture for direct imaging at 100 micro-arcsecond resolution
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Abstract
The hypertelescope construction initiated in the Southern Alps (Labeyrie et al., this conference) has provided some preliminary operating experience indicating that larger versions, up to perhaps 1200m, are probably feasible at suitable sites. The Arecibo-like architecture of such instruments does not require the large mount and dome which dominate the cost of a 40m ELT. For the same cost, an "Extremely Large Hyper Telescope” ( ELHyT) may therefore have a larger collecting area. It may thus in principle reach higher limiting magnitudes, both for seeing-limited and, if equipped with a Laser Guide Star and adaptive phasing, for high-resolution imaging with gain as the size ratio, i.e. about 30 with respect to a 40m ELT. Like the radio arrays of antennas, such instruments can be grown progressively. Also, they can be up-graded with several focal gondolas, independently tracking different sources. Candidate sites have been identified in the Himalaya and the Andes. We describe several design options and compare the science achievable for both instruments, ELTs and ELHyTs. The broad science addressed by an ELHyT covers stellar chromospheres, transiting exoplanets and those requiring a high dynamic range, achieved by array apodization or coronagraphy. With a Laser Guide Star, it extends to faint compact sources beyond the limits of telescopes having a smaller collecting area, supernovae, active galactic nuclei, gamma ray bursts. The sparse content of remote galaxies seen in the Hubble Deep Field appears compatible with the crowding limitations of an ELHyT having 1000 apertures.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Antoine Labeyrie, Denis Mourard, Fatmé Allouche, Rijuparna Chakraborthy, Julien Dejonghe, Arun Surya, Yves Bresson, Claude Aime, David Mary, Alexis Carlotti, "Concept study of an Extremely Large Hyper Telescope (ELHyT) with 1200m sparse aperture for direct imaging at 100 micro-arcsecond resolution", Proc. SPIE 8445, Optical and Infrared Interferometry III, 844512 (12 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.926541; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.926541
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