Experimental results with a second-generation Roddier & Roddier phase mask coronagraph
Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, UMR6110, OAMP, CNRS/Université de Provence, 38 rue Frédéric Joliot-Curie, 13388 Marseille Cedex 13, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Kjetil.Dohlen@oamp.fr
2 Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 70-264 Ciudad Universitaria, 04510 México D.F., Mexico e-mail: email@example.com
3 GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, 5 Place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA e-mail: email@example.com
5 American Museum of Natural History, 79th Street at Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, USA
Accepted: 28 September 2009
Context. Coronagraphic techniques are required to observe substellar mass companions close to nearby bright stars by direct imagery. Phase mask coronagraphs are particularly interesting because they give access to the innermost regions. While the principle of the first such concept was validated experimentally a decade ago, the achieved brightness attenuation was too low to be conclusive, probably due to the imperfect thickness profile of the mask.
Aims. We have manufactured and tested a second-generation Roddier & Roddier coronagraph in preparation for the development of more elaborate phase mask designs, planned to be used in the future European Extremely Large Telescope.
Methods. A monolithic phase mask was made by ion beam machining. Experimentally obtained coronagraphic images were compared with simulated images.
Results. Good agreement with theory was obtained. A peak attenuation of 216 was achieved, and a contrast of ~10-5 was measured at 5.7 . The results exploring contrasts obtained at different distances from the star for different mask dimensions are particularly interesting, confirming predictions made in the literature.
Key words: instrumentation: high angular resolution / techniques: high angular resolution / telescopes / methods: laboratory
© ESO, 2010