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Proceedings Paper

Automated alignment and on-sky performance of the Gemini planet imager coronagraph
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Paper Abstract

The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is a next-generation, facility instrument currently being commissioned at the Gemini South observatory. GPI combines an extreme adaptive optics system and integral field spectrograph (IFS) with an apodized-pupil Lyot coronagraph (APLC) producing an unprecedented capability for directly imaging and spectroscopically characterizing extrasolar planets. GPI’s operating goal of 10-7 contrast requires very precise alignments between the various elements of the coronagraph (two pupil masks and one focal plane mask) and active control of the beam path throughout the instrument. Here, we describe the techniques used to automatically align GPI and maintain the alignment throughout the course of science observations. We discuss the particular challenges of maintaining precision alignments on a Cassegrain mounted instrument and strategies that we have developed that allow GPI to achieve high contrast even in poor seeing conditions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 July 2014
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 9147, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V, 914740 (8 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2055752
Show Author Affiliations
Dmitry Savransky, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Sandrine J. Thomas, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Lisa A. Poyneer, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Jennifer Dunn, NRC - Herzburg Institute of Astrophysics (Canada)
Bruce A. Macintosh, Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford Univ. (United States)
Naru Sadakuni, Gemini Observatory (Chile)
Daren Dillon, Univ. of California Observatories (United States)
Lick Observatory, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)
Stephen J. Goodsell, Gemini Observatory (Chile)
Markus Hartung, Gemini Observatory (Chile)
Pascale Hibon, Gemini Observatory (Chile)
Fredrik Rantakyrö, Gemini Observatory (Chile)
Andrew Cardwell, Gemini Observatory (Chile)
Andrew Serio, Gemini Observatory (Chile)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9147:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V
Suzanne K. Ramsay; Ian S. McLean; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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