Volume 631, November 2019
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||31 October 2019|
Active minimization of non-common path aberrations in long-exposure imaging of exoplanetary systems
LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, Université PSL, CNRS, Université de Paris, Sorbonne Université, 5 Place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
Accepted: 13 September 2019
Context. Spectroscopy of exoplanets is very challenging because of the high star-planet contrast. A technical difficulty in the design of imaging instruments is the noncommon path aberrations (NCPAs) between the adaptive optics (AO) sensing and the science camera, which induce planet-resembling stellar speckles in the coronagraphic science images. In an observing sequence of several long exposures, quickly evolving NCPAs average out and leave behind an AO halo that adds photon noise to the planet detection. Static NCPA can be calibrated a posteriori using differential imaging techniques. However, NCPAs that evolve during the observing sequence do not average out and cannot be calibrated a posteriori. These quasi-static NCPAs are one of the main limitations of the current direct imaging instruments such as SPHERE, GPI, and SCExAO.
Aims. Our aim is to actively minimize the quasi-static speckles induced in long-exposure images. To do so, we need to measure the quasi-static speckle field above the AO halo.
Methods. The self-coherent camera (SCC) is a proven technique which measures the speckle complex field in the coronagraphic science images. It is routinely used on the THD2 bench to reach contrast levels of < 10−8 in the range 5 − 12 λ/D in space-related conditions. To test the SCC in ground conditions on THD2, we optically simulated the residual aberrations measured behind the SPHERE/VLT AO system under good observing conditions.
Results. We demonstrate in the laboratory that the SCC can minimize the quasi-static speckle intensity in the science images down to a limitation set by the AO halo residuals. The SCC reaches 1σ raw contrast levels below 10−6 in the region 5 − 12 λ/D at 783.25 nm in our experiments.
Conclusions. The results presented in this article reveal an opportunity for the current and future high-contrast imaging systems to adapt the SCC for real-time measurement and correction of quasi-static speckles in long-exposure science observations from the ground.
Key words: instrumentation: high angular resolution / instrumentation: adaptive optics / techniques: high angular resolution
© G. Singh et al. 2019
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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