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Proceedings Paper

Exploring 5-40 AU scales around AB Aurigae with an upgraded Palomar Fiber Nuller
Author(s): Jonas Kühn; Bertrand Mennesson; Kurt Liewer; Stefan Martin; Frank Loya; Rafael Millan-Gabet; Eugene Serabyn
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Paper Abstract

With a null precision of a few 10-4 at all azimuth angles inside a field-of-view extending from 35 to 275 mas, the Palomar Fiber Nuller (PFN) is able to explore angular scales intermediate between those accessed by coronagraphic imaging and by long baseline interferometry. We first briefly summarize the recent performance improvements of the PFN (sensitivity, azimuthal coverage, duty cycle efficiency on-sky) over the 2011-2014 time period. Then we report on recent K-band observations of the young pre-main sequence star AB Aurigae obtained with the PFN. It is shown that a mean astrophysical null of 1.52% was detected around AB Aur at all probed azimuthal angles, and this inside a field-of-view corresponding to projected separations between 5 and 40 AU. In addition, we also report a slight ±0.2% modulation in addition to this average null level. The isotropic astrophysical null is indicative of circumstellar emission dominated by an azimuthally extended source, possibly a halo or one or more rings of dust. The modest azimuthal variation may be explained by some skewness or anisotropy of the spatially-extended source, e.g. with an elliptical or spiral geometry, or clumping, but it could also be due to the presence of a point-source located at a separation of ~120 mas (17AU) and carrying ~6*10-3 of the stellar flux.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 July 2014
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9146, Optical and Infrared Interferometry IV, 914606 (24 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2056798
Show Author Affiliations
Jonas Kühn, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Bertrand Mennesson, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Kurt Liewer, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Stefan Martin, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Frank Loya, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Rafael Millan-Gabet, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Eugene Serabyn, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9146:
Optical and Infrared Interferometry IV
Jayadev K. Rajagopal; Michelle J. Creech-Eakman; Fabien Malbet, Editor(s)

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