Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 486, 639-654 (2019/June-2)
Kernel phase imaging with VLT/NACO: high-contrast detection of new candidate low-mass stellar companions at the diffraction limit.
KAMMERER J., IRELAND M.J., MARTINACHE F. and GIRARD J.H.
Abstract (from CDS):
Directly imaging exoplanets is challenging because quasi-static phase aberrations in the pupil plane (speckles) can mimic the signal of a companion at small angular separations. Kernel phase, which is a generalization of closure phase (known from sparse aperture masking), is independent of pupil plane phase noise to second order and allows for a robust calibration of full pupil, extreme adaptive optics observations. We applied kernel phase combined with a principal component based calibration process to a suitable but not optimal, high cadence, pupil stabilized L'-band (3.8 µm) data set from the ESO archive. We detect eight low-mass companions, five of which were previously unknown, and two have angular separations of ∼0.8-1.2 λ/D (i.e. ∼80-110 mas), demonstrating that kernel phase achieves a resolution below the classical diffraction limit of a telescope. While we reach a 5σ contrast limit of ∼1/100 at such angular separations, we demonstrate that an optimized observing strategy with more diversity of PSF references (e.g. star-hopping sequences) would have led to a better calibration and even better performance. As such, kernel phase is a promising technique for achieving the best possible resolution with future space-based telescopes (e.g. James Webb Space Telescope), which are limited by the mirror size rather than atmospheric turbulence, and with a dedicated calibration process also for extreme adaptive optics facilities from the ground.
© 2019 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
planets and satellites: detection - planets and satellites: formation - techniques: high angular resolution - techniques: image processing - techniques: interferometric - binaries: close
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