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Session 11 - Instrumentation & Techniques.
Oral session, Monday, June 09
North Main Hall A,
Deep circumstellar imaging, as in the detection of extrasolar planets, requires the detection of faint unresolved sources against the scattered and diffracted light halo of a parent star. Detection is optimized by minimizing the background while maximizing source encircled energy. The stellar coronagraph is designed to accomplish the former while adaptive optics attacks the latter. In addition to the presence of a working AO system at Mount Wilson, the excellent seeing at the sight makes it especially attractive for this problem. The elevated sky brightness associated with the site is of little concern since it is smoothly varying compared to the sources being sought and since it is significantly fainter than the circumstellar halo for bright nearby stars.
A program is described to add a high efficiency coronagraphic capability to the adaptive optics system already in place at Mount Wilson in order to carry on a search for faint circumstellar sources. Optical design considerations for the modifications are discussed and performance predictions for the combined systems will be given.
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Program listing for Monday