AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 86 Ground Based Optical Interferometry
Special Session, Tuesday, 10:00-11:30am, January 10, 2006, Delaware A

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[86.08] The Future of Ground-Based Optical Interferometry

S. Ridgway (NOAO/NASA)

Key technical challenges of optical interferometry - phasing of telescopes, optical delay control, beam transport, combination, detection, data extraction - have been demonstrated in interferometer prototypes. First generation facilities are now enabling an outpouring of science at angular resolutions as small as 1 milliarcsec. Extrapolating from this experience, it is already possible to map out with confidence numerous alternative paths for optical interferometry in the future. Are the most promising directions ultra-high angular resolution, precision imagery, astrometry, high dynamic range, wide field, faint sources - some combination of the above? Broad community input is needed to address such strategy questions.

This talk will give a snapshot of the current status, an overview of some second-generation concepts, and explore how recent experience may suggest directions for the future. It will also sketch a roadmap for interferometry planning over the next few years.

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

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