AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 41. ACS, FAME, FUSE, SIM, and Swift
Poster, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[41.03] The ACS Coronagraph

D.R. Ardila (JHU), J. Krist, M. Clampin (STScI), D.A. Golimowski (JHU), G. Hartig (STScI), H.C. Ford (JHU), G.D. Illingworth (UCO/Lick Obs.), C. Burrows (STScI), F. Bartko (Bartko Sci. & Tech.), N. Ben\'itez, J.P. Blakeslee (JHU), R. Bouwens (UCO/Lick Observatory), T.J. Broadhurst (Racah Inst. Physics, Hebrew U.), R.A. Brown (STScI), E. Cheng (GSFC), N. Cross, P.D. Feldman (JHU), M. Franx (Leiden Obs.), C. Gronwall (Pennsylvania State Univ.), L. Infante (Pontificia Univ. Catolica de Chile), R.A. Kimble (GSFC), M. Lesser (Steward Obs.), A.R. Martel, F. Menanteau, G.R. Meurer (JHU), G. Miley (Leiden Obs.), M. Postman (STScI), P. Rosati (ESO), M. Sirianni (JHU), W.B. Sparks (STScI), JHU Tran, Z.I. Tsvetanov (JHU), R.L. White (STScI), W. Zheng (JHU)

The Advanced Camera for Surveys provides a selectable coronagraphic mode that allows high contrast imaging of faint objects near bright stellar-like sources. The coronagraph operates in the aberrated beam of HST before it is corrected by the ACS optics. This requires the use of relatively large (D=1.8" and 3") occulting spots. On-orbit measurements show that the coronagraph suppresses the diffraction pattern of the central object to a level below that of the scattered light caused by imperfections in the HST optical surfaces, resulting in a 10x reduction in PSF wing brightness. Using images of another star or the same object at a different orientation of the telescope, it is possible to subtract most of the remaining light, resulting in a total PSF wing supression of 500x-5000x. The high resolution, multibandpass capabilities of the ACS coronagraph will allow more detailed observations of circumstellar and circumnuclear material that were possible with previous HST instruments.

ACS was developed under NASA contract NAS 5-32865, and this research is supported by NASA grant NAG5-7697. We are grateful for an equipment grant from the Sun Microsystems, Inc.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ardila@pha.jhu.edu

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