On-sky observations with an achromatic hybrid phase knife coronagraph in the visible
Laboratoire Universitaire d'Astrophysique de Nice (LUAN), CNRS UMR 6525, Parc Valrose, 06108 Nice Cedex 02, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Laboratoire Gemini, CNRS UMR 6203, Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, BP 4229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
3 Laboratoire Cassiopée, CNRS UMR 6202, Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, BP 4229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
Accepted: 11 August 2006
Context.The four-quadrant phase mask stellar coronagraph, introduced by D. Rouan et al., is capable of achieving very high dynamical range imaging and was studied in the context of the direct detection of extra-solar planets. Achromatic four-quadrant phase mask is currently being developed for broadband IR applications.
Aims.We report on laboratory and on-sky tests of a prototype coronagraph in the visible. This prototype, the achromatic hybrid phase knife coronagraph, was derived from the four-quadrant phase mask principle.
Methods.The instrumental setup implementing the coronagraph itself was designed to record the pre- and post-coronagraphic images simultaneously so that an efficient real-time image selection procedure can be performed. We describe the coronagraph and the associated tools that enable robust and repeatable observations. We present an algorithm of image selection that has been tested against the real on-sky data of the binary star HD 80081 (* 38 Lyn).
Results.Although the observing conditions were poor, the efficiency of the proposed method is proven. From this experiment, we derive procedures that can apply to future focal instruments associating adaptive optics and coronagraphy, targeting high dynamic range imaging in astronomy, such as detecting extra-solar planets.
Key words: instrumentation: miscellaneous / methods: data analysis / atmospheric effects / stars: binaries: general
© ESO, 2006