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J. Woillez (California Association for Research in Astronomy), G. Perrin (Observatoire de Paris), O. Lai (Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope)
The `OHANA (Optical Hawaiian Array for Nanaoradian Astronomy) instrument, by replacing conventional mirrors with single mode fibers, proposes an alternative design for astronomical interferometers. After four years of developments, a first successful combination was achieved on June 17, 2005, between the two 10-meter Keck telescopes, thus validating the fiber technology. Further developments are under way to combine new baselines on the Mauna Kea and achieve an unprecedented angular resolution at optical wavelength.
The sensitivity associated to the angular resolution should foster interest in interferometric observations in a broader community. For example, the extragalactic science that started two years ago on both the Keck Interferometer and the Very Large Telescope Interferometer would further benefit from an increased angular resolution provided by the `OHANA instrument. Observations of the inner parts of type 1 Active Galactic Nuclei, toward the Broad Line Region and the base of Radio Jets, should provide confirmation or new insight on the geometry and physics of the central black hole environment.
The extension of `OHANA to all baselines, leading to an imaging array on the Hawaiian summit, will require a new operational model and a larger support of the summit partners. The resulting 800-meter baselines instrument would fulfill the role of a scientific and technical test bed for a future Extremely Large Optical Interferometer. In 10 to 20 years, this next generation facility, dedicated to interferometric observations, based on 4 to 8-meter class telescopes, spread over kilometric baselines, would be made possible with the single mode fiber transport solution.
The ‘OHANA project is supported in France by the Ministry of Research, Paris Observatory and Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers (INSU) of CNRS. The authors are thankful to the `OHANA collaboration, and to CARA and NASA/JPL for providing successful nights and key support to the project.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.