Tinsley Visiting Scholar: Stars Group
"SPHERE: the New High-contrast Imager for the ESO-VLT"
Direct imaging of planets is one of the major challenges for current astrophysics.
SPHERE is the new high contrast imager for the ESO-VLT. SPHERE has been constructed
by a consortium including institutes from five different European countries (France,
Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands) and ESO, lead by Jean-Luc Beuzit
(IPAG, France). SPHERE is a state-of-the-art instrument including a very powerful extreme
adaptive optics system (SAXO), a common path providing very stable and accurately
calibrated optical path, a suite of coronagraphs, and three scientific channels:
IRDIS, a dual band imager which allows imaging, long slit spectroscopy and polarimetry
in the near infrared; IFS, an integral field spectrograph, still for near infrared;
and ZIMPOL, the image-polarimeter for visible wavelengths. SPHERE has been commissioned
during 2014, achieving 5-sigma contrast limits better than 10-6 at 0.5 arcsec from the
central star in favourable cases. I will present the principles behind this very
performing instrument and some early results.
INAF - Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Italy
host: Chris Sneden