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Session 70 - Searching for Other Planetary Systems.
Display session, Wednesday, January 17
North Banquet Hall, Convention Center

[70.12] Palomar Testbed Interferometer - Initial Observations

M. M. Colavita, B. E. Hines, J. K. Wallace, J. W. Yu, M. Shao (JPL), X. P. Pan (Caltech)

The Palomar Testbed Interferometer (PTI) is a long-baseline infrared interferometer funded by NASA as part of the ASEPS program. PTI has been designed to demonstrate the technology for the indirect direction of exoplanets, through observation of the astrometric wobble of the parent star with extremely high accuracy, with ultimate application to the Keck Interferometer. To achieve high accuracies, PTI uses a dual-object approach, to observe the parent star and a nearby astrometric reference star simultaneously on the same baseline. With narrow fields and long baselines, the astrometric accuracy on selected targets should be <50 \muas\sqrth. PTI uses 40 cm apertures over a baseline of 110 m, with automatic fringe tracking at 2.2 \mum using NICMOS-III array detectors. Installation of the interferometer components at Palomar Mountain began May 1, and first fringes were obtained July 27. Subsequent engineering work has been directed toward dual-star observations, atmospheric characterization, and full automation. A status report and initial observations will be presented.

Program listing for Wednesday