HiCIAO is a near-infrared, high contrast instrument which is specifically designed for searches and studies for
extrasolar planets and proto-planetary/debris disks on the Subaru 8.2 m telescope. A coronagraph technique
and three differential observing modes, i.e., a dual-beam simultaneous polarimetric differential imaging mode,
quad-beam simultaneous spectral differential imaging mode, and angular differential imaging mode, are used
to extract faint objects from the sea of speckle around bright stars. We describe the instrument performances
verified in the laboratory and during the commissioning period. Readout noise with a correlated double sampling
method is 15 e- using the Sidecar ASIC controller with the HAWAII-2RG detector array, and it is as low as 5 e-
with a multiple sampling method. Strehl ratio obtained by HiCIAO on the sky combined with the 188-actuator
adaptive optics system (AO188) is 0.4 and 0.7 in the H and K-band, respectively, with natural guide stars that
have R ~ 5 and under median seeing conditions. Image distortion is correctable to 7 milli-arcsec level using
the ACS data as a reference image. Examples of contrast performances in the observing modes are presented
from data obtained during the commissioning period. An observation for HR 8799 in the angular differential
imaging mode shows a clear detection of three known planets, demonstrating the high contrast capability of
The High-Contrast Coronographic Imager for Adaptive Optics (HiCIAO), is a coronographic simultaneous differential
imager for the new 188-actuator AO system at the Subaru Telescope Nasmyth focus. It is designed primarily to search
for faint companions, brown dwarves and young giant planets around nearby stars, but will also allow observations of
disks around young stars and of emission line regions near other bright central sources. HiCIAO will work in
conjunction with the new Subaru Telescope 188-actuator adaptive optics system. It is designed as a flexible,
experimental instrument that will grow from the initial, simple coronographic system into more complex, innovative
optics as these technologies become available. The main component of HiCIAO is an infrared camera optimized for
spectral simultaneous differential imaging that uses a Teledyne 2.5 μm HAWAII-2RG detector array operated by a
Sidecar ASIC. This paper reports on the assembly, testing, and "first light" observations at the Subaru Telescope.
Direct exploration of exoplanets is one of the most exciting topics in astronomy. Our current efforts in this field are concentrated on the Subaru 8.2m telescope at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Making use of the good observing site and the excellent image quality, the infrared coronagraph CIAO (Coronagraphic Imager with Adaptive Optics) has been used for various kinds of surveys, which is the first dedicated cold coronagraph on the 8-10m class telescopes. However, its contrast is limited by the low-order adaptive optics and a limited suppression of the halo speckle noise.
HiCIAO is a new high-contrast instrument for the Subaru telescope. HiCIAO will be used in conjunction with the new adaptive optics system (188 actuators and/or its laser guide star - AO188/LGSAO188) at the Subaru infrared Nasmyth platform. It is designed as a flexible camera comprising several modules that can be configured into different modes of operation. The main modules are the AO module with its future extreme AO capability, the warm coronagraph module, and the cold infrared camera module. HiCIAO can combine coronagraphic techniques with either polarization or spectral simultaneous differential imaging modes. The basic concept of such differential imaging is to split up the image into two or more images, and then use either different planes of polarization or different spectral filter band-passes to produce a signal that distinguishes faint objects near a bright central object from scattered halo or residual speckles.
In this contribution, we will outline the HiCIAO instrument, its science, and performance simulations. The optical and mechanical details are described by Hodapp et al. (2006)1. We also present a roadmap of Japanese facilities and future plans, including ASTRO-F (AKARI), SPICA, and JTPF, for extrasolar planet explorations.
We describe a polarimeter for the near-infrared camera SIRIUS mounted on the IRSF 1.4 m telescope in South Africa. The polarimeter, SIRPOL, consists of an achromatic (1-2.5 μm) wave plate rotator unit and a polarizer located upstream of the camera, both of which are at a room temperature. This minimizes the effect of the mirrors in the camera on instrumental polarization. The combination of the polarimeter with the SIRIUS camera enables a deep (J = 19.2 mag, 5σ in one hour) and wide-field (7.7' × 7.7') imaging polarimetry at JHKs simultaneously. The three color near-infrared polarimetry is useful for understanding the properties of dust grains that cause scattering and absorption in various environments (e.g., star forming regions, late-type stars, and galaxies). Using IRSF and SIRPOL, wide-field near-infrared polarization surveys in various star-forming regions are being conducted, starting from 2006, which aim to study both reflection nebulae associated with young stars and interstellar polarizations of background stars. In this contribution, we describe the hardware and software of SIRPOL and report its first results on the telescope.