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Proceedings Paper

Micro-arcsec imaging from the ground with intensity interferometers
Author(s): Aviv Ofir; Erez N. Ribak
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Paper Abstract

Stellar amplitude interferometry is limited by the need to have optical distances known to a fraction of the wavelength. We suggest reviving intensity interferometry, which requires far less accurate hardware (~1cm mechanical precision) at the cost of more limited sensitivity. We present an algorithm that uses the very high redundancy of a uniform linear array to increase the sensitivity of the instrument by more than a hundredfold. An array of a hundred ~100m diameter elements can achieve a limiting magnitude of mb=14.4. Off-line processing of the data will enable such a ground-based facility to transform a two-dimensional field of point-like sources to a three-dimensional distribution of micro-arcsec resolved systems, each imaged in several optical bands. Each system will also have its high resolution residual timing, high quality (inside each band) spectra and light curve, emergent flux, effective temperature, polarization effects and perhaps some thermodynamic properties, all directly measured in a single observation run of such a dedicated facility. Coronagraphy, selectively suppressing large scale structures of the sources, can also be achieved by specific aperture shapes. We conclude that after three decades of abandonment optical intensity interferometry deserves another review, also as a ground-based alternative to the science goals of space interferometers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 June 2006
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6268, Advances in Stellar Interferometry, 62683S (29 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.689123
Show Author Affiliations
Aviv Ofir, Tel Aviv Univ. (Israel)
Erez N. Ribak, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6268:
Advances in Stellar Interferometry
John D. Monnier; Markus Schöller; William C. Danchi, Editor(s)

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