AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 46 Instrumentation for HST and Sirtf
Poster, Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[46.02] HST/NICMOS Coronagraphy: Prospects for Cycle 13 and Beyond - A Choice of Coronagraphic Imagers

G. Schneider (Steward Observatory, University of Arizona), M. Silverstone, D. Hines (Steward Observatory, University of Arizo)

HST provides a unique resource for high contrast imaging with its panchromatic complement of coronagraphically augmented imagers: NICMOS (near-IR), STIS (broad band optical), and ACS (UV/Optical). With the advent of the NICMOS Cooling System (NCS), coronagraphy with NICMOS camera 2 (76 mas/pixel) was re-enabled at higher quantum efficiency (compared to Cycle 7) through the HST Cycle 11 SMOV program and fully recalibrated in Cycle 12. In preparation for HST cycle 13, we discuss the performance levels of NCS-era NICMOS coronagraphy in terms of background (scattered and diffracted) background light rejection from coronagraphically occulted stars, coronagraphic optical artifacts, instrumental sensitivity and detectability of point sources and low surface brightness circumstellar dust. We comment on the efficacy of astrometric and photometric measures in very high contrast coronagraphic fields. We compare the attributes of the three HST coronagraphic imagers as they have been applied to studies of circumstellar debris disks, in particular to HD 141569A and HR 4796A for which ground-based observations have also been attempted, and in consideration of future HST imaging programs. We discuss direct imaging of low mass, (L & T) dwarf companions and hot giant planets in``close'' (> 0.3 arcsec) proximity to their host stars and explore this in light of the companion detection performance capabilities demonstrated with the Keck AO system. We present the status of the calibration of a new NICMOS observing mode -- coronagraphic polarimetry -- which is now under study. This work was supported by NASA grants NAG5-3042 and 10843 to the NICMOS Instrument Definition and Guaranteed Time Observing Teams.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://nicmosis.as.ariozna.edu:8000/AASJAN03.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: gschneider@as.arizona.edu

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© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.