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Proceedings Paper

The Nova Fringe Tracker: a second-generation cophasing facility for up to six telescopes at the VLTI
Author(s): Jeffrey A. Meisner; Walter J. Jaffe; Rudolf S. Le Poole
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Paper Abstract

The NOVA Fringe Tracker (NFT) is a proposed solution to the call by ESO for a second generation fringe tracking facility. This instrument at the VLTI will enable the cophasing of up to 6 telescopes simultaneously. Using broad band optics with detection from 1.2 to 2.4 microns, a unique configuration is employed that eliminates so-called “photometric crosstalk.” This refers to imbalance in the beam combiner which results in fluctuations of the incoming wavefronts and the proportion of power accepted by a spatial filter masquerading as a visibility, a common problem afflicting previous interferometric instruments and fringe trackers. Also proposed for use in “science instruments” (for the measurement of visibility), the “Polarization-Based Collimated Beam Combiner,” with its achievement of photometric symmetry in hardware, is particularly suited for combined use of the smaller AT (1.8 meter) telescopes with the UT (8 meter) telescopes involving a 20:1 intensity ratio of the interfering beams, and also for fringe tracking using highly resolved sources having a very small visibility. Recent enhancements to the proposed fringe tracker include selectable modes which detect only a single quadrature phase, both quadrature phases, or an uneven combination of the two. Optimization of partial spatial filtering using pinholes has been performed using a wavefront simulator and simulated tracking loop. Aiming for an instrument achieving the best limiting sensitivity, analysis and simulations predict that reliable cophasing will be obtained using the 1.8 meter AT telescopes tracking on an unresolved reference star with a K magnitude of 10

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 September 2012
PDF: 22 pages
Proc. SPIE 8445, Optical and Infrared Interferometry III, 84451L (12 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.927136
Show Author Affiliations
Jeffrey A. Meisner, Leiden Observatory (Netherlands)
Walter J. Jaffe, Leiden Observatory (Netherlands)
Rudolf S. Le Poole, Leiden Observatory (Netherlands)
TNO Science and Industry (Netherlands)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8445:
Optical and Infrared Interferometry III
Françoise Delplancke; Jayadev K. Rajagopal; Fabien Malbet, Editor(s)

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