High contrast imaging: from active correction to observation of circumstellar debris disks
Intervenant : Johan Mazoyer
Johns Hopkins University
More than 3000 thousands exoplanets have been discovered to date, but only a few have been imaged directly. However, by allowing the observation of circumstellar disks and planets (sometimes simultaneously around the same star, as in the case of β-pictoris), this method is a fundamental tool for the understanding the process of planetary formation. In addition, direct access to the light of the detected objects allows spectroscopy, paving the way to the full chemical analysis of exoplanets’ atmosphere and disks grains. Several coronagraphic instruments are currently observing to images of young Jupiters and/or Kuiper like debris disks. These instruments use coronagraphs optimized for circular, often un-obstructed apertures. Indeed, the remaining aberrations created by the atmosphere or optics defaults is limiting the contrast at levels far above the ones created by apertures discontinuities (inter-segment gap or secondary mirror mounts). However, the next generation of ground and space based telescopes will have to address the problem of apertures discontinuities in coronagraphy, if we want to obtain images and spectra of earth sized planets or dust grains below the snow line.In this talk I will present my current research at the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University to improve the contrast level of coronagraphs in the presence of apertures discontinuities using deformable mirrors. I will finally present my work in the field of high contrast imaging of debris disks.