MATISSE (Multi AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment) is the spectro-interferometer of the European Southern Observatory VLT operating in the spectral bands L, M and N, and, combining four beams from the unit or auxiliary telescopes. The concept constitutes an evolution of the two-beam interferometric instrument MIDI operating on the VLTI. It will give access to the mapping and the distribution of the material, the gas and essentially the dust, in the circumstellar environments and will provide aperture synthesis images in the mid-infrared spectral regime. The Warm OPtics (WOP) of the instrument provides the functions of spectral band separation, optical path equalization and modulation, pupil positioning, beam anamorphosis, beam positioning, and beam commutation. It also allows the alignment function of the beams with the Cold Optics contained in two separate cryostats. This sub-system is presently aligned and tested at the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur in Nice, France, to validate accuracy and stability. The present paper gives the results of the Warm OPtics laboratory tests.
MATISSE is the mid-infrared spectrograph and imager for the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at Paranal. This second generation interferometry instrument will open new avenues in the exploration of our Universe. Mid-infrared interferometry with MATISSE will allow significant advances in various fundamental research fields: studies of disks around young stellar objects where planets form and evolve, surface structures and mass loss of stars in late evolutionary stages, and the environments of black holes in active galactic nuclei. MATISSE is a unique instrument. As a first breakthrough it will enlarge the spectral domain used by optical interferometry by offering the L & M bands in addition to the N band, opening a wide wavelength domain, ranging from 2.8 to 13 μm on angular scales of 3 mas (L/M band) / 10 mas (N band). As a second breakthrough, it will allow mid-infrared imaging – closure-phase aperture-synthesis imaging – with up to four Unit Telescopes (UT) or Auxiliary Telescopes (AT) of the VLTI. MATISSE will offer various ranges of spectral resolution between R~30 to ~5000. In this article, we present some of the main science objectives that have driven the instrument design. We introduce the physical concept of MATISSE including a description of the signal on the detectors and an evaluation of the expected performance and discuss the project status. The operations concept will be detailed in a more specific future article, illustrating the observing templates operating the instrument, the data reduction and analysis, and the image reconstruction software.
The ASTEP program is dedicated to exo-planet transit search from the Concordia Station located at Dome C, Antarctica.
It comprises two instruments: a fixed 10cm refractor pointed toward the celestial South Pole, and a 400mm Newton
telescope with a 1x1 degree field of view. This work focuses on the latter instrument. It has been installed in November
2009, and has been observing since then during the two polar winters 2010 and 2011. After presenting the main science
observing programs, we review the telescope installation, performance, and describe its operating conditions as well as
the data reduction and handling strategy. The resulting lightcurves are generally very stable and of excellent quality, as
shown by continuous observations of WASP-19 that we present here.
MATISSE is a mid-infrared spectro-interferometer combining the beams of up to four Unit Telescopes or Auxiliary
Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) of the European Southern Observatory.
MATISSE will constitute an evolution of the two-beam interferometric instrument MIDI. New characteristics present in
MATISSE will give access to the mapping and the distribution of the material, the gas and essentially the dust, in the
circumstellar environments by using the mid-infrared band coverage extended to L, M and N spectral bands. The four
beam combination of MATISSE provides an efficient uv-coverage: 6 visibility points are measured in one set and 4
closure phase relations which can provide aperture synthesis images in the mid-infrared spectral regime.
We give an overview of the instrument including the expected performances and a view of the Science Case. We present
how the instrument would be operated. The project involves the collaborations of several agencies and institutes: the
Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur of Nice and the INSU-CNRS in Paris, the Max Planck Institut für Astronomie of
Heidelberg; the University of Leiden and the NOVA-ASTRON Institute of Dwingeloo, the Max Planck Institut für
Radioastronomie of Bonn, the Institut für Theoretische Physik und Astrophysik of Kiel, the Vienna University and the
MATISSE is foreseen as a mid-infrared spectro-interferometer combining the beams of up to four UTs/ATs of the Very
Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) of the European Southern Observatory. The related science case study
demonstrates the enormous capability of a new generation mid-infrared beam combiner.
MATISSE will constitute an evolution of the two-beam interferometric instrument MIDI. MIDI is a very successful
instrument which offers a perfect combination of spectral and angular resolution. New characteristics present in
MATISSE will give access to the mapping and the distribution of the material (typically dust) in the circumstellar
environments by using a wide mid-infrared band coverage extended to L, M and N spectral bands. The four beam
combination of MATISSE provides an efficient UV-coverage : 6 visibility points are measured in one set and 4 closure
phase relations which can provide aperture synthesis images in the mid-infrared spectral regime.
A first generation of VLTI (Very Large Telescopes Interferometer) focal instruments, AMBER in the near-infrared and MIDI in the mid-infrared, has been already integrated and tested. New and important science results have been obtained. These instruments combine two (for MIDI) or three (for AMBER) beams coming from the eight telescopes installed at Cerro Paranal (four 8-meters and four 1.8-meters telescopes). In order to improve the capabilities of the interferometer and to engage a new scientific prospective, the second generation of VLTI instruments is currently under study. MATISSE belongs to this second generation. MATISSE objective is the image reconstruction. It will extend the astrophysical potential of the VLTI by overcoming the ambiguities existing in the interpretation of simple visibility measurements. It is a spectro-interferometer combining up to four beams with a large spectral coverage ranging from 3 to 25 μm (L, M, N and Q bands). Different spectral resolutions (between 30 and 1500) are foreseen. MATISSE will measure closure phase relations thus offering an efficient capability for image reconstruction. The concept of MATISSE is presented in this paper. The recombination mode of MATISSE is similar to the AMBER beam combination, but has been adapted to the constraints specific to the mid-infrared domain.
Our objective is the development of mid-infrared imaging at the VLTI. The related science case study demonstrates the enormous capability of a new generation mid-infrared beam combiner. MATISSE will constitute an evolution of the two-beam interferometric instrument MIDI by increasing the number of recombined beams up to four. MIDI is a very successful instrument which offers a perfect combination of spectral and angular resolution. New characteristics present in MATISSE will give access to the mapping and the distribution of the material (typically dust) in the circumstellar environments by using a wide mid-infrared band coverage extended to L, M, N and Q spectral bands. The four beam combination of MATISSE provides an efficient UV-coverage: 6 visibility points are measured in one set and 4 closure phase relations which can provide for the first time aperture synthesis images in the mid-infrared spectral regime. The mid-infrared spectral domain is very relevant for the study of the environment of various astrophysical sources. Our science case studies show the wide field of applications of MATISSE. They will be illustrated in the first part of this presentation through the perspective of imaging the circumstellar environments/discs of young stellar objects. The MATISSE characteristics will be given in a second part of the presentation.
APreS-MIDI (APerture Synthesis in the MID-Infrared) instrument function is to recombine 4 telescope beams of the VLTI. Interference fringes are sampled in the pupil plane. The optical principle uses "image densification". It is perfectly adapted for reconstructing images by aperture synthesis at 10mm. This principle could be used for building a new generation 10mm instrument, but instead of making a totally new instrument, we propose the design of an optical module that can supply the current MIDI-VLTI instrument with 4 beams.
We are studying an optical concept aiming at recombining four mid-infrared telescope beams, where interference fringes are sampled in the pupil plane. Such a principle is perfectly adapted for reconstructing images by aperture synthesis with teh VLTI. It could be used for building a new generation 10 μm instrument, but instead of doing a totally new instrument, we propose the design of an optical module that can supply the surrent MIDI-VLTI instrument with 4 beams. The combined use of this module together with the MIDI instrument is the project called APreS-MIDI. Such an instrument at the VLTI focus will have an unique and very strong astrophysical potential.
AMBER (Astronomical Multiple BEam Recombiner) is a 3 aperture
interferometric recombiner operating between 1 and 2.5 um, for the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). The control software of the instrument, based on the VLT Common Software, has been written to comply with specific features of the AMBER hardware, such as the Infrared detector read out modes or piezo stage drivers, as well as with the very specific operation modes of an interferomtric instrument.
In this respect, the AMBER control software was designed to insure that all operations, from the preparation of the observations to the control/command of the instrument during the observations, would be kept as simple as possible for the users and operators, opening the use of an interferometric instrument to the largest community of astronomers. Peculiar attention was given to internal checks and calibration procedures both to evaluate data quality in real time,
and improve the successes of long term UV plane coverage observations.
We are studying an optical concept aiming at recombining 4 telescope beams. Interference fringes are sampled in the pupil plane. Such a principle is perfectly adapted for reconstructing images by aperture synthesis at 10 μm with the VLTI. This principle could be used for building a new generation 10 μm instrument, but instead of doing a totally new instrument, we propose the design of an optical
module that can supply the current MIDI-VLTI instrument with 4 beams.
AMBER is the General User near infrared focal instrument of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer. Its a single mode, dispersed fringes, three telescopes instrument. A limiting magnitude of the order of H=13 will allow to tackle a fair sample of extra galactic targets. A very high accuracy, in particular in color differential phase and closure phase modes gives good hope for very high dynamic range observation, possibly including hot extra solar planets. The relatively high maximum spectral resolution, up to 10000, will allow some stellar activity observations. Between this extreme goals, AMBER should have a wide range of applications including Young Stellar Objects, Evolved Stars, circumstellar material and many others. This paper tries to introduce AMBER to its future users with
information on what it measures, how it is calibrated and hopes
to give the readers ideas for applications.
We present the general architecture of the GI2T/REGAIN control system. Based on a Graphical User Interface and different client-server communications, the system has to control both telescopes, the delay line, the beam-combiner, the data acquisition system and the real-time processing used as fringe tracker. We also describe in details the implementation of a real-time fringe tracker based on 4 monochromatic images and which used the fractional excess algorithm. Numerical simulations are shown. The control system is also dedicated to the acquisition of all the relevant data for the visibility calibration. We will also describe in details the data reduction package that provides the corrected visibilities. This architecture is very general and robust and has been developed having in mind that GI2T/REGAIN should be used by a wide community of astronomers.
AMBER is a focal instrument for the Very Large Telescope Interferometer working in the near infrared from 1.1 to 2.4 micrometers . It has been designed having in mind the General User of interferometric observations and the full range of his possible astrophysical programs. However the three programs used to define the key specifications have been the study of Young Stellar Objects, the study of Active Galactic Nuclei dust tori and broad line regions and the measure of masses and spectra of hot Extra Solar Planets. AMBER combines up to three beams produced by the VLTI 8 m Unit Telescopes equipped with Adaptive Optics and/or by the 1.8 m Auxiliary Telescopes. The fringes are dispersed with resolutions ranging from 35 to 10000. It is optimized for high accuracy single mode measurements of the absolute visibility, of the variation of the visibility and phase with wavelength (differential interferometry) and of phase closure relations with three telescopes. The instrument and its software are designed to allow a highly automated user friendly operation and an easy maintenance.
This paper presents the optical layout of the REGAIN beam combiner including the optical delay line LAROCA with its variable curvature mirror, the field rotator devices, the image and pupil tracking systems and the dedicated visible spectrography. Preliminary studies of foreseen improvements, such as adaptive optics, IR spectrograph and addition of a third telescope, will be discussed.
The 3-meter stroke `LAROCA' Delay Line (DL) was designed, built and tested in France in 1993, with full success in terms of performance and of length and loading scalability. The highly stringent stability requirements in delay line motion led to devise an original guiding and motorizing concept that affords outstanding displacement accuracy, minimizing lateral and, more importantly, longitudinal vibrations. LAROCA's architecture hinges on a two-stage concept: a high-precision upper carriage, for precision positioning, controlled for longitudinal vibration compensation by a high-bandwidth, hybrid analog/digital controller, and a less accurate lower carriage for global DL translation on a two-cylindrical-rail track using a classical position control system. Excellent interstage decoupling, using a contactless suspension, yields long-stroke capability together with the required stability of the high- precision stage. After a presentation of the LAROCA project requirements and an overview of the general architecture, this paper describes the overall servo-control subsystem. Finally some important results are presented.
The operation of stellar interferometers suffers from turbulence- induced random fluctuations of optical pathlength difference between collected fields. Active compensation needs an error signal which is provided by a fringe sensor. A phase A study for a fringe sensor for the ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has been conducted at OCA, leading to a proposition for the completion of a prototype. In this article, the goals and the principle of the sensor are recalled (see Gay and Rabbia, preceding paper, in this symposium). Its optimal working wavelength is discussed. Results of a numerical simulation of the sensor operation are reported, comprising sensitivity estimates. The proposed setup is then described in the details, emphasis being put on monomode optical fiber related items. Finally, current plans for the testing and the future use of the prototype are outlined.
In December 1989, the first optical delay line was delivered to France's Observatorie de la Cote d'Azur (OCA) for the I2T stellar interferometer. In order to meet the very stringent stability requirement imposed on the delay line during its programmed translation, a servocontrolled stage for active vibration filtering has been developed and successfully tested. This paper first describes the requirements specific to this application. The need for active vibration filtering is then demonstrated, considering the state-of-the-art in translation stage technologies. After a brief description of the servocontrolled filtering stage and the overall interferometer's control architecture, the results obtained are presented. In the last section, we discuss the potential future applications of the developed concept.