General

End-to-end simulation of AO-assisted coronagraphic differential imaging : estimation of performance for SPHERE

SPHERE (Spectro Polarimetric High contrast Exoplanet REsearch), the planet finder instrument for the VLT is designed to study relatively bright extrasolar giant planets around young or nearby stars. SPHERE is a set of three instruments fed by the same AO-system, two of them share the same coronagraph. This complex system has been modeled with Fourier Optics to investigate the performance of (...)

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Active optics methods for exoplanet direct imaging. Stress polishing of supersmooth aspherics for VLT-SPHERE planet finder

Context. The next generation of exoplanet hunters will be targeting hot Jupiter-like exoplanets orbiting around nearby stars through direct imaging. The high contrast needed for such planet finders requires optical surfaces free of high spatial frequency ripples that might remain in the post-coronagraphic image as quasi-static speckles. Aims : We report results on the manufacturing of three (...)

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SPHERE : a ’Planet Finder’ instrument for the VLT

Direct detection and spectral characterization of extra-solar planets is one of the most exciting but also one of the most challenging areas in modern astronomy. The challenge consists in the very large contrast between the host star and the planet, larger than 12.5 magnitudes at very small angular separations, typically inside the seeing halo. The whole design of a "Planet Finder" instrument (...)

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Performance of the extreme-AO instrument VLT/SPHERE and dependence on the atmospheric conditions

SPHERE is the high-contrast exoplanet imager and spectrograph installed at the Unit Telescope 3 of the Very Large Telescope. After more than two years of regular operations, we analyse statistically the performance of the adaptive optics system and its dependence on the atmospheric conditions above the Paranal observatory, as measured by the suite of dedicated instruments which are part of (...)

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Performance of the VLT Planet Finder SPHERE. I. Photometry and astrometry precision with IRDIS and IFS in laboratory

The new planet finder for the Very Large Telescope (VLT), the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE), just had its first light in Paranal. A dedicated instrument for the direct detection of planets, SPHERE, is composed of a polametric camera in visible light, the Zurich IMager POLarimeter (ZIMPOL), and two near-infrared sub-systems : the Infra-Red Dual-beam Imager and (...)

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