News 2002

02.12.27 The groups at IOTA and IONIC have commissioned a new three-way beam combiner for imaging with phase-closure data. The new beam combiner greatly improves the sensitivity for imaging, allowing a new and exciting program of imaging protoplanetary environments with sub-astronomical unit resolution. The commissioning team for the December observing run included Jean-Philippe Berger, Fabien Malbet, Rafael Millan-Gabet, and John Monnier. See the news release IOTA/IONIC: YSOs with Three Telescopes. (Courtesy of Rafael Millan-Gabet.)
02.12.19 Scientists at TNO TPD Space Department in The Netherlands successfully completed a test program on their Achromatic Phase Shifter. A deep and stable broadband null has been achieved in the visible waveband, which would be equivalent to a null of 100,000 in the IR, sufficient for planet detection. The Nulling breadboard contract awarded by ESA to the team comprising Astrium Space, Germany, TNO TPD, The Netherlands and the Technical University of Vienna has entered the final performance testing phase. Last month TNO TPD has completed their part of the test program. A deep broadband null of 36,000 in the Near Infrared has been obtained. During the next couple of months further comparative tests will be carried out by Astrium Space using different source simulator and phase shifter concepts. (Contributed by Fred Kamphues, TNO TPD).
02.12.18 The European Southern Observatory has issued the press release New Vistas Open with MIDI at the VLT Interferometer announcing first fringes with MIDI using the two 8.2-m telescopes ANTU and MELIPAL, 15 December 2002. Fringes were first obtained at 8.7 microns with Epsilon Carinae with a baseline of 102 m.
02.12.17 MIDI obtained fringes with the 8.2-m unit telescopes in the early morning on December 15th. The MIDI NFRA webpages have been recently updated.
02.12.13 MIDI obtained first fringes at about 4:00 am on 11 December 2002 using sidereostats at the VLTI. For more photos, see Andrea Richichi's MIDI Integration page.
02.12.11 The SMART-2 mission proposed by the European Space Agency was to be shared by LISA and Darwin. The mission had originally two spacecrafts and was to be used by Darwin as a technology precursor mission for formation flying. The mission will now have only a single spacecraft and be devoted solely to LISA. The SMART-3 mission, although yet to be confirmed, will very likely be for Darwin only and pursue the technology program that was to be conducted for SMART-2. SMART-3 may have three spacecraft and include a stellar interferometer. It is currently scheduled for launch in 2008-2009. (Courtesy of Malcolm Fridlund.)
02.12.11 Alain Leger has been awarded the European Space Agency's achromatic phase shifter contract for Darwin.
02.12.11 The possible use of integrated optics to build nulling beam combiners for Darwin is described in the ESA Press Release From Darwin to internet at the speed of light, dated 26 November 2002.
02.12.04 The Magdalena Ridge Interferometer had its Design Review on October 21, 2002. Photos from the event are available at the MRO website.
02.12.04 The LBT Telescope Construction website shows progress with the assembly of the telescope base within the enclosure at Mount Graham. Also see inside the enclosure with theTelescope Construction Webcam.
02.12.04 As shown by the photographs of the integration of MIDI at the VLTI, MIDI obtained first light on November 30. Internal fringes were obtained November 18, but first fringes have not yet been reported. You can follow progress with MIDI at Andrea Richichi's MIDI Integration page.
02.12.04 Science from VLTI observations with two 8.2-m Unit telescopes is reported in the ESO Press release How Small are Small Stars Really?. Also see the article in Le Monde "L'étoile la plus proche mesurée pour la première fois avec précision", December 4, 2002. The paper First radius measurements of very low mass stars with the VLTI will be published as a Letter in Astronomy and Astrophysics. The observations were mostly carried out during the comissionning of the two 8.2 meters telescopes ANTU and MELIPAL on the 102.4 meter baseline in November 2001. (Courtesy of Damien Ségransan) [Editor's note: the article in Le Monde refers to Michel Queloz - could he be related to Didier?]
02.12.04 John Young and Tom Pauls have announced a further pre-release of a standard for the exchange of optical (visible/IR) interferometry data. They are aiming to freeze the standard early in 2003, and would therefore welcome any comments or corrections. For details please see John's Exchange Data Format webpage, and the announcement on the OLBIN list server. Comments can be submitted to the oi-data email list server:
02.11.26 Proc. SPIE vol. 4838 "Interferometry for Optical Astronomy II" is nearly done and should go to the printer in a few days (Courtesy of Wes Traub).
02.11.25 A listing of coronagraph imaging papers has been added to OLBIN. The list was created in support of the TPF Science Working Group and a link to it now appears through theTPF website.
02.11.25 Submit your entry for the logo of the European Interferometry Inititive for Astronomy. The contest is now underway (see entries by Gilles Duvert).
02.11.19 Peter Tuthill and Mike Ireland acquired first fringes with the new red-wavelengths beam combiner at the Sydney University Stellar Interferometer (SUSI). Fringes were acquired on Canopus at 04:15am Tuesday 19 Nov 2002 (17:15 UT). and were held on the Red Table system for about an hour. (Courtesy of Peter Tuthill.)
02.11.11 MIDI is now being integrated into the VLTI at Paranal. Photographs of the installation of MIDI are available from the webpages of Andrea Richichi.
02.11.01 The W.M. Keck Observatory has two open positions to support the Keck Interferometer project. The Keck Interferometer, combining the two 10-m diameter Keck telescopes, is currently capable of performing visibility-based science observations. The specific NASA Origins science goals will ultimately be supported by an instrument capable of also performing nulling, differential phase and imaging science. The Interferometer Scientist or Optics Engineer will provide systems level support for the implementation, optimization and science operation of the Interferometer. The Postdoc will support the Interferometer development and operation and will be provided with 50% research time in interferometry related areas. The Observatory also welcomes applications from Postdoctoral candidates with their own funding. Further details can be found at the Keck Observatory's Career Opportunities webpage. Fax (808) 885-4464 or mail resumes, references, and salary history to CARA, 65-1120 Mamalahoa Hwy, K amuela, HI 96743. (Courtesy of Michael Hrynevych.)
02.10.31 Christian Hummel, Dave Mozurkewich, and Tom Pauls have contributed a web page concerning the relative merits of amplitude/phase or real/imaginary descriptions of complex visibilitites. The information presented follows on from discussions concening the data exchange format for calibrated imaging data. To follow the ongoing discussions, send email to, leave the Subject heading blank, and in the message body enter: subscribe oi-data
02.10.28 Manuscripts from the recent SPIE Interferometry Conferences in Hawaii are now available from COAST and the MIDI team.
02.10.28 The W.M. Keck Observatory has an opening for an Interferometer Scientist/Engineer, as advertised through the observatory's Career Opportunities webpage. Fax (808) 885-4464 or mail resumes, references, and salary history to Interferometer Optics Engineer, CARA, 65-1120 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kamuela, HI 96743.
02.10.28 The Interferometry Science Center at Caltech is being renamed the Michelson Science Center.
02.10.28 The 2003 Michelson Interferometry Summer School will be held at the California Institute of Technology, 7-11 July 2003. The program of the school will be very similar to that of the 2000 Michelson Summer School.
02.10.25 MIDI is now on its way to Paranal. Photos of the shipping of MIDI are available from the web pages of Andrea Richichi.
02.10.14 Details of the Desktop Interferometer for Aperture Synthesis Imaging are available courtesy of Peter Lawson. This includes the SPIE paper (PDF) from Proc. SPIE 4838, aparts list (with prices), as well as details of the Royal Society demo built by Donald Wilson of the COAST group for the Royal Society open house in 1996.
02.10.14 The web-based proceedings of the 2002 Michelson Interferometry Summer School are now available.
02.10.14 The TPF Mission Architecture Study Reports (2000-2001) are now available on CDROM. Copies of the CDROM are available free of charge by email request to lawsonexternal image Please use the subject "TPF CDROM" and include your mailing address in the body of the text.
02.10.09 More in the "slow news day" department: a FLUOR Photo Mosaic and First Fringes with the very serious Antoine Merand. (From the LESIA webpages of Antonin Remond.)
02.10.08 In the "slow news day" department we have photos from the life of jet-setting interferometrist, Bob Thompson: It's a Bob's Life.
02.10.08 Research in optical long-baseline interferometry at the Observatoire de Paris is described on the web pages of Laboratoire d'Etudes Spatiales et d'Instrumentation en Astrophysique (LESIA). See in particular the interferometry pages and the extensive list of publications.
02.09.30 The Catalog of High Angular Resolution Measurements is now available online at CDS.
02.09.26 The four 8.2-m Unit Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer have now been combined in pairs to produce fringes. As described in the ESO Press release Four Eyes are Better, "During the nights of September 15/16 and 16/17, 2002, preliminary tests were successfully carried out during which the light beams from all four VLT 8.2-m Unit Telescopes (UTs) at the ESO Paranal Observatory were successively combined, two by two, to produce interferometric fringes." (Courtesy of Andreas Glindemann.)
02.09.25 The Williams fire, currently burning in the San Gabriel Mountains east of the Mount Wilson Observatory, has shut down observations at the CHARA Array due to smoke and ash from the fire. The current view from the Towercam on Mount Wilson is pointed in the direction of the fire. The 60-inch telescope is in the foreground with one of the CHARA telescopes to the right. The Michelson Building (which housed the 50 ft interferometer) and the Berkeley Infrared Spatial Interferometer (ISI) can be seen on the left of the frame. The fire is burning far to the east of the Observatory and poses no current threat.
02.09.20 The August and September photos of the telescope construction of the LBT show the boxes being unloaded from a boat in Houston, Texas, in August and a mirror cell being delivered to the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab in Tucson, Arizona, on September 12.
02.09.18 The October issue of Discover Magazine includes the article The Very Best Telescope describing work at the CHARA Array.
02.09.12 Applications for the 2003 Henri Poincare Fellowships are now open. The fellowships are for research to be conducted at the Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur. For more information please consult the Frequently Asked Questions page at the fellowship website. Please contact Denis Mourard for possible opportunities at the GI2T. The application deadline is 1 January 2003.
02.09.09 A photograph of the discussion panel at SPIE Conf. 4838 is available courtesy of David Buscher.
02.09.09 Some aerial views of the Palomar Testbed Interferometer are available courtesy of Gerard van Belle.
02.09.06 The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) project at Steward Observatory (University of Arizona) seeks applicants for a Research Associate position in developing an interferometric beamcombiner for the LBT. To apply, please submit a curriculum vitae, publication list, statement of research interests, and contact information of three individuals who can provide recommendations to Dr. Roger Angel or Dr. Philip Hinz.
02.09.05 Photographs from the 2002 Meeting of the IAU Working Group on Optical/IR Interferometry 29 August and 30 August are available courtesy of Gerard van Belle.
02.09.04 VLT Period 71 Call for Proposals (for observing 1 April to 30 September 2003) has now been issued. During period 71, part of the VLTI commissioning time will be open for shared risk observing programs with VINCI and the siderostats. The observations will be carried out by the commissioning team. Proposals will be accepted also from PIs from non-ESO member countries. See page 22 in the call for proposals. Baselines from 8 to 189 m will be available for observations in the K band with a limiting magnitude of K~3 with an intrinsic accuracy of between 1 and 5% for squared visibility depending on the magnitude and observing conditions. The deadline for proposals is 1 October 2002, before 12:00 noon CEST (12:00 noon, Central European Summer Time).
02.09.04 Steve Ridgway (NOAO) has been awarded the Blaise Pascal International Research Chair for 2002 by the Fondation de l'Ecole Normal Superieure in Paris. The foundation carries three to five Blaise Pascal Chairs annually. The award carries support for a one-year visit to a university or laboratory in the Paris region. Dr. Ridgway is being hosted by the Paris Observatory (Meudon).
02.09.04 The VLTI has now obtained fringes with the 8-m Unit Telescope UT2 (KUEYEN) in combination with UT1 and UT3. (Fringes with UT1 and UT3 were first obtained on 29 October 2001.) The European Southern Observatory did not issue a press release to mark the event. The fringes were obtained in July this year.
02.09.04 The Sydney University Stellar Interferometer has now commissioned its 160-m baseline (Courtesy of John Davis).
02.09.04 First fringes with FLUOR at the CHARA Array took place Monday, 19 August 2002.
02.09.04 Operations with the Palomar Testbed Interferometer will be continued for another ~2 years. Ben Lane (Caltech) reported at the SPIE meeting in Hawaii that the secondary table and delay lines at PTI are now being modified for phase closure measurement with the three siderostats.
02.09.04 Successful trials with the OHANA fiber coupler took place on August 12th at the CFHT. Light from the telescope was coupled into a single-mode optical fiber as the first step in the long-term program to combine light from several of the largest telescopes on Mauna Kea.
02.09.04 The Interferometry Science Center (Caltech) has announced its intention to release its observation planning tools for the Palomar Testbed Interferometer and the Keck Interferometer sometime in November 2002 (Courtesy Rachel Akeson).
02.09.04 An interview with Professor Antoine Labeyrie "La Terre n'est pas le centre du monde" appeared in L'Express International (No. 2657, Semaine du 6 au 12 juin 2002, page 66). The article describes his work with hypertelescopes and planet finding and reminds the reader that lectures by the professors of the College de France are broadcast on France Culture from 6 to 7 am, Monday to Friday.
02.08.19 The 2003 Michelson Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Fellowships have now been advertised. The application deadline is November 11, 2002.
02.08.12 An unveiling ceremony for the Magdalena Ridge Observatory will take place at the MRO site on Tuesday, Aug. 20, beginning at 10:30 am. See the Press Release from New Mexico Tech.
02.08.09 The web pages of TNO TPD, a partner of Dutch Space in the design and construction of the VLTI Delay Lines, describe TNO TPD's current R&D program related to long-baseline optical and infrared interferometry. This includes Precision Engineering & Mechanisms for delay lines, phase shifters, metrology, fringe sensors, and nulling. (Courtesy of Fred Kamphues, Mill House Engineering for TNO TPD.)
02.08.06 The flight component of the StarLight mission has been cancelled. StarLight however continues to be funded in its role to support the development of technology for formation flying interferometry for the Terrestrial Planet Finder. The decision to end flight development of the mission took place in March 2002. StarLight had been scheduled for launch in 2006.
02.08.06 Applications are invited for an astrophysicist position at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for research with the IOTA optical-infrared 3-telescope interferometer. For more information please contact Dr. Wesley A. Traub at 617-495-7406, or email wtraubexternal image
02.08.01 Photographs of the installation of FLUOR at the CHARA Array are available courtesy of Vincent Coude du Foresto. Photographs by Peter Lawson.
02.07.31 The European Space Agency has issued the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the Darwin-GENIE Instrument Definition Study. Darwin-GENIE (Ground based European Nulling Interferometer Experiment) is a "technology demonstrator" conceived to test on ground, at system level, the approach, together with some of the key technologies, required to accomplish the Darwin Infrared Space Interferometer mission. For more information please consult the ESA EMITS site, and look for the open invitation No. AO4252, dated 23 July 2002. The ITT closes on 30 October 2002.
02.07.29 Photographs of the site of the Magdalena Ridge Observatory are available courtesy of David Buscher.
02.07.25 The CHARA Array obtained fringes on the E1-E2 baseline earlier this week. The remaining telescopes are now W1 and W2, which should have fringes before the end of this (northern hemisphere) summer.
02.07.25 Information concerning the Interferometric Activities in German Industry (PDF) is available through the FrInGe website. This presentation includes photographs of experiments Astrium is conducting on behalf of ESA's Darwin mission, and has details of their nulling interferometer breadboard, and a description of the polycrystalline silver halide fibers being considered for spatial filtering.
02.07.24 An IONIC 2-beam H-band beam combiner obtained fringes with the VLTI siderostats in a recent observing run, 17-23 July 2002. The integrated optics combiner was fiber-fed and mounted on VINCI, with its fibers temporarily replacing VINCI's normal fiber feeds. Fringes on Altair and other stars were obtained with the two 35-cm siderostats on a baseline of 66 m. For more details see the announcement from Pierre Kern on the OLBIN list server, that includes plots of raw and corrected fringe scans.
02.07.22 FLUOR arrived at the CHARA Array Tuesday July 16, 2002. See the article on OLBIN courtesy of Theo ten Brummelaar, with additional photos courtesy of Vincent Coude du Foresto. Also see une aventure en cinémascope dans l'ouest américain edited by Antonin Rémond (in French).
02.07.17 The United Kingdom joined ESO as of July 1, 2002, as planned, and the ESO Council held its summer meeting in London on July 8-9. The UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) and ESO issued a joint Press Release to mark the event.
02.07.15 As shown on the photograph pages of the LBT Telescope Construction, dated July 2002, the telescope structure has been loaded onto a ship in Italy and is now in transit, having departed for Houston on July 11, 2002. Also see photos of preparations and transportation from May and June 2002.
02.07.12 The European Southern Observatory has announced the ESO Fellowship Programme 2002/2003. Applications and letters of recommendation must reach ESO by October 15, 2002.
02.07.10 Gerard van Belle will become the new Keck Operations Scientist at Caltech's Interferometry Science Center. He will coordinate the NASA community's use of the Keck telescopes for NASA Origins Theme science, including both single-aperture and interferometric programs. Gerard currently works as part of the Keck Interferometer development team at JPL. He will begin his new job at Caltech on September 9, 2002. (Courtesy of Andy Boden.)
02.07.09 The selections of winning proposals for the NASA Research Announcement on Extra-Solar Planets Advanced Mission Concepts (NRA-01-OSS-04) were made in February 2002. The abstracts of the selected proposals are now listed at the NASA Research Opportunities website.
02.07.08 Photographs from the 2002 Michelson Interferometry Summer School, held this year at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (23-28 June 2002), are available courtesy of the P.R. Lawson. See photographs from Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the school.
02.07.03 The Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy has openings for one staff position, one postdoctoral position (stipend), and Ph.D. positions in the Infrared Interferometry Group. Review of applications will begin on 1 August 2002. See announcement 12756 in the July 2002 AAS Job Register for details.
02.07.03 The NOVA - ESO VLTI Expertise Centre (NEVEC) has an opening for an additional scientist (astronomer) starting in 2002 for at least 3 years. The deadline for applications is 30 August 2002. See announcement 12751 in the July 2002 AAS Job Register for more details.
02.07.02 The 2002 Michelson Fellowship Awards have been announced. Details courtesy of Rolf Danner.
02.07.02 NASA Headquarters and the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) Project at JPL are soliciting applications for membership in an interim Science Working Group (SWG). To receive full consideration, responses must be received at NASA HQ by August 15, 2002. Letters of interest should be sent to Dr. Philippe Crane by e-mail. For more details please see the announcement at the oss-research website.
02.07.02 Documentation and reports from the TPF architecture studies (2000-2002) is now available on-line through the TPF pages at the PlanetQuest website. See in particular the JPL Summary Report.
02.07.01 The ASPRO software developed by the Jean-Marie Mariotti Center (JMMC) is available for download in the download section of the JMMC web pages. A moderated Email Forum concerning ASPRO has also been established. For more information on ASPRO, see the ASPRO User's Manual (PDF). (Courtesy of Gilles Duvert.)
02.06.27 Photographs of the signing ceremony between the COAST group and the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Consortium are available courtesy of David Buscher. The signing took place in Washington, DC, on June 21, 2002.
02.06.27 The European Southern Observatory has openings for a Data Quality Control Scientist - VLTI and VLTI Astronomers, with application deadlines of 31 and 15 July 2002, respectively.
02.06.25 MIRA 1.2 has obtained first fringes on their 30-m baseline. See the fringe plots from their posting dated 8 June 2002. The website of the MIRA group now includes a virtual tour of MIRA 1.2 (see "MIRA 1.2 photo" at the MIRA website).
02.06.21 The COAST group is to join forces with the consortium building the Magdalena Ridge Observatory. See details in the press release, courtesy of John Young. Also see the COAST press release, the press release from New Mexico Tech, the article from the Albuquerque Journal, and the article from Space Daily.
02.06.19 IOTA has successfully detected first fringes using single-mode fibers at 794 nm with an asymmetric coupler. Fringes were observed with Cepheid Eta Aql (V=3.9mag) on UT 2002 June 11 with a 35-m baseline, These are the first reported stellar fringes using a single-mode coupler at a wavelength below 1 micron. [Stellar fringes had been detected using similar single-mode fibers, but with free-space combination, on UT 2001 May 30 (a year ago) with observations of Polaris at 800 nm, also with IOTA.] (Courtesy of John Monnier.)
02.06.18 National Public Radio (USA) ran the story New Observatory Brings Stars Closer to Earth describing the work by USNO and NRL at NPOI.
02.06.18 The north telescope of the COAST array has been moved to now provide baselines up to 67 meters.
02.06.05 The conference programs for the SPIE Conferences on "Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation" are now available. See in particular the conference list includingInterferometry for Astronomy II and Interferometry in Space. There is also a short course on interferometry to be given by Chris Haniff.
02.06.03 The Infrared Interferometry Group of the Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy in Bonn has openings for one staff position, one postdoctoral position (stipend), and a Ph.D. position for work related to the AMBER beam combiner of the VLTI. The review of applications will begin on 15 July 2002.
02.05.29 The European Southern Observatory has vacancies for a VLTI Software Enginneer and a Project Engineer. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2002.
02.05.24 FLUOR Relocates to the CHARA Array: a collaborative agreement has been signed between Georgia State University and the Observatoire de Paris under which FLUOR, an optical fiber pair-wise beam combiner, will be installed at the CHARA Array on Mt. Wilson. This system has been resident at IOTA since 1995 and used successfully for high accuracy visibility measurements of late-type stars and spectroscopic binaries. CHARA offers the opportunity to employ FLUOR with long baselines and larger apertures. The collaboration will emphasize studies of Cepheid variables, large delta-m spectroscopic binaries, systematic diameter measurements, synoptic observations of Mira variables, and the detection and characterization of disks surrounding young stellar objects. The transfer will begin in June so that scientific observations can be carried out this summer and fall. (Courtesy of Theo ten Brummelaar.)
02.05.25 All six telescopes at the CHARA Array are now operational. Interferometry with any pair of telescopes should be possible later this observing season. The next baseline to come on-line is expected to be the E1-E2 pair, brought into operation in June.
02.05.21 The NATO/ASI and Euro-Summer-School Optics in Astrophysics will be held in Cargese, Corsica (France), 16-27 September 2002. The school will address topics related to the design of the future generation of optical astronomical telescopes including interferometers. Applications are due by 15 June 2002.
02.05.16 The European Southern Observatory has an opening for a VLTI System Engineer. The initial term of the appointment is three years. The deadline for applications 15 June 2002.
02.05.15 The IAU Symposium on "Science with High Angular Resolution Optical/Infrared Interferometry" which was proposed to the IAU Executive by John Davis, has been declined. About 6 proposals were to be chosen from 30 submissions for Symposia at the IAU General Assembly in Sydney, 13-26 July 2003.
02.05.14 The latest edition of Astronomy and Astrophysics includes the letter Diffraction-limited CCD imaging with faint reference stars by Bob Tubbs, John Baldwin, Craig MacKay, and Graham Cox [A&A 387, L21-L24 (2002)]. The paper describes the lucky-snapshot method used with the Nordic Optical Telescope at La Palma in the Canary Islands. Also included in that issue are two papers describing data reduction with the Large Binocular Telescope using the AIRY software package.
02.05.03 The Interferometry Science Center (ISC) at the California Institute of Technology has an opening for a research scientist to administer NASA's scientific use of the Keck Telescopes in Mauna Kea, HI. Please see the AAS Job Register Announcement 12682 for details. Deadline for applications and letters of reference is June 3, 2002.
02.05.02 Groups actively involved in the selection of calibrator sources for the VLTI will meet in Florence (Italy) this coming June 10-11. Representatives from the VLTI, NEVEC in the Netherlands, the JMMC in France, FRINGE in Germany, as well as the MIDI and AMBER instrument teams will be present. The agenda includes reports on what has been done in the various centers mentioned above, and the coordination of future activities. The main focus of the meeting will be on the needs of the VLTI, but guest observers from other interested parties are welcome. For more information please contact Andrea Richichi (, Isabelle Percheron (, or Leonardo Testi ( [Courtesy of Andrea Richichi.]
02.04.25 A draft standard for the exchange of Optical/IR interferometry data has been prepared by the NPOI and COAST groups in close collaboration with Bill Cotton at NRAO. The documentation for the standard and sample programs which implement the standard, written in ANSI C, are available at The current document is a draft and all aspects of it are open for discussion. Comments and discussion should be sent to the oi-data list server: (Courtesy of John Young and Tom Pauls.)
02.04.23 Photographs show various components of AMBER, the near-infrared imager of the VLTI, now in development, as well as the new integration room at the Observatoire de Grenoble (Photos dated 14 December 2001).
02.04.22 The Royal Society is publishing a special issue of Philosophical Transactions titled "Interference: 200 years after Thomas Young's Discoveries". See in particular the paper "The origins of the concept of interference" (PDF) by J.D. Mollon for a fascinating early history of Thomas Young's investigations on sound, interference phenomena, and light. Also included in this issue is the review paper "The application of interferometry to optical astronomical imaging" (PDF) by John Baldwin and Chris Haniff.
02.04.18 Rafael Millan-Gabet, currently a Michelson Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, will be taking up the position of Research Scientist at theInterferometry Science Center at Caltech. His initial work will be in support of V2 science with the Keck Interferometer, and will also support other observing modes when they become available. He will be moving to Pasadena to begin his new job in late summer 2002.
02.04.16 ASPRO, an extension of the GILDAS package, is available for download. ASPRO has been developed at the Jean-Marie Mariotti Center in Grenoble for use in preparations of observing programs with the VLTI.
02.04.16 The group at the GI2T has developed web-based tools to help prepare observations; this includes visibility predictions for single and binary stars and SNR calculations. A web-based star catalog is also available.
02.04.15 Details are available on progress at IOTA and the improved three-telescope measurements with IONIC (operating at H band). The quality of raw data has been improved since 23 February 2002 when three-baseline fringes were first acquired.
02.04.15 The first announcement for the JENAM 2002 Workshop on "VLTI: Challenges for the Future" has been issued. The workshop will take place in Porto, Portugal, 4-7 September 2002 (soon after the SPIE meetings in Hawaii).
02.04.12 The Preliminary Design Review of DIVA is taking place on the 11, 29, and 30 of April 2002. The first part of the review is complete and was well received.
02.04.12 A popular science article at the ESA Science Website describes ESA and ESO's plans for the VLTI nulling interferometer, GENIE.
02.04.04 An interesting page of recollections about meeting Dorothy Michelson can be found here. Dorothy Michelson Livingston was Albert Michelson's youngest daughter from his second marriage. She wrote the biography "The Master of Light" published in 1974. She passed away April 15, 1994.
02.04.03 Photographs of and a progress report of the MIRA-1.2 interferometer are available courtesy of Jun Nishikawa. Fringes were obtained on the 6-m baseline on 24 June 2001. Work is currently ongoing to obtain fringes on the 30-m baseline.
02.04.01 CDROMs of the 2001 Michelson Interferometry Summer School proceedings have now been printed and are available for distribution. The CDROMs are readable on PC, Mac, or Unix platforms and are distributed free of charge. If you would like a copy of the 2001 Proceedings, and have not previously requested one, please email your request to lawsonexternal image using the Subject "2001 CDROM" and include your mailing address in the body of the text.
02.03.27 The European Southern Observatory has an opening for a VLTI Control/Hardware Engineer. The position will be based in Garching with extended missions to the VLT in Chile. Applications are due by 19 April 2002.
02.03.26 The Origins Subcommittee letter from the meeting in Pasadena, California, 25 February 2002, mentions good news and not-so-good news for NASA's interferometry missions. Amongst other news, SIM has made significant headway in meeting its milestones for 2002, but there will be a probable re-scoping of StarLight to a ground program. In the wake of NASA's withdrawal of support for FAME, Ken Johnston raised the possibility of NASA participation in Gaia or collaboration with a German mission (DIVA) whose science goals are similar.
02.03.26 John Monnier, currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, will be taking up the position of Assistant Professor in the Astronomy Department at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), starting 1 September 2002. He will be continuing his work in interferometry including his new projects in instrumentation for optical interferometry.
02.03.25 A press release from the US Naval Observatory, dated 7 March 2002, describes the success of the 6-way beam combination at NPOI. See also the OLBIN News item from 4 March 2002 (below).
02.03.22 Andreas Quirrenbach, currently Professor in the Center for Astrophysics and Space Science at the University of California, San Diego, will be changing jobs and moving to the Netherlands this summer where he will take a Chair in Astronomical Instrumentation at Leiden University and become PI of NEVEC.
02.03.22 The NASA Research Announcement concerning Research Opportunities in Space Science (NRA 02-OSS-01) will be updated on 26 March 2002 to include topics relating to spectroscopy of extra-solar planets. The deadline for Notices of Intent to propose has been extended to April 10, 2002, and proposals are due on June 14, 2002. For more details please see the announcement of ROSS Ammendment No. 5.
02.03.22 An updated homepage of the Terrestrial Planet Finder has been released through the Planet Quest Web Site at JPL.
02.03.22 The optical biomarkers study for TPF, Biosignatures and Planetary Properties to be Investigated by the TPF Mission (PDF file) edited by David Des Marais (NASA ARC), is now available as a PDF file through the Planet Quest TPF Library.
02.03.15 Plans for the development of GENIE, the Ground-Based European Nulling Interferometer Experiment, are outlined in a letter to the European Astronomical Community signed by Sergio Volonte (ESA) and Massimo Tarenghi (ESO).
02.03.15 The Interferometry Science Center's Keck Interferometer Support page has recently been updated with further details of software tools for observation planning, data access, calibration, and data processing.
02.03.13 The March issue of Discover Magazine carries the story Can we find another Earth? which includes a discussion of recent contractor work for the Terrestrial Planet Finder - in particular work by Jeremy Kasdin and David Spergel on the design of a novel coronagraph.
02.03.13 The European Southern Observatory is making VINCI available to ESO's user community through shared risk observing programs with the commissioning team. During VLT Period 70, part of the VLTI commissioning time will be open for shared risk observing programmes with VINCI and the siderostats. About 150 hours will be available for these observations. The limiting K magnitude is noted as K ~3 and baselines from 8 to 200 m are possible. For more details please see page 19 Section 6.6 of the VLT Period 70 Call for Proposals (PDF) and the Proposal Preparation Homepage at ESO. The proposal deadline is 3 April 2002 at 12:00 noon Central European Summer Time.
02.03.12 Gerard van Belle was awarded the "Ed Stone Award for Outstanding Research Publication" for work on the paper Altair's oblateness and rotation velocity from long-baseline interferometry, by Gerard van Belle, D.R. Ciardi, R.R. Thompson, R.L. Akeson, and E.A. Lada, Astrophys. J. 559, 1155-1164 (2001). Also see the JPL Press Release from 2001 Star with Midriff Bulge Eyed by Astronomers. Measurements of Altair with the Palomar Testbed Interferometer will be the subject of lab demo work at the 2002 Michelson Interferometry Summer School.
02.03.11 An organization of European national groups involved in interferometry has been established. The groups involved are FRINGE, JMMC, and NEVEC. "Eur Interferometry" was initiated on 30 January 2002 at Heidelberg to facilitate communications and collaborations between European scientists and institutes working on optical long-baseline interferometry for astronomy. A number of working groups have already been established.
02.03.05 The technology testbed for StarLight (also previously known as ST-3, and DS-3) has passed one of its most significant milestones by actively tracking white-light fringes. This event is reported at the Planet Quest website. The testbed interferometer had first acquired white-light fringes in late January 2002, and began actively tracking fringes by February 20. Plots of delay as a function of time are also available through the Planet Quest News Release.
02.03.04 An image of the eta Vir triple star system has been added to the "What's New?" column of the NPOI web pages. The recently commissioned six-way beam combiner was used to produce this image (Courtesy of Mel Dyck). Also see the USNO News Release.
02.03.04 The University of Leiden (NOVA/NEVEC) and the University of Delft (KAS), have a Ph.D. position available on Wide field imaging (homothetic mapping) with the VLTI. The deadline for applications is 1 May 2002. For more information please contact Dr. Eric Bakker at
02.03.01 The March AAS Job Register announces the availability of a Staff Scientist Position at the Interferometry Science Center, and Post Doctoral Research Positions with Gerd Weigelt's group at the Max Planck Institute in Bonn.
02.02.25 At 1:30 am Friday 23 February 2002 IOTA achieved three-telescope phase-closure for the first time. See the news release page at the IOTA web site. For one of the baselines it was the first time that fringes had been obtained with that telescope pair. IONIC, the integrated optic combiner from Grenoble was used to obtain the fringes. With fringes on two baselines, the third one came in within a wavelength of the others. Also see the plot of first fringes. (Courtesy of Rafael Millan-Gabet).
02.02.25 The 2002 PTI Call for Proposals has been issued. The call for proposals is principally intended for members of the PTI collaboration, but is also included as a link on the PTI home page. The call, written by Andy Boden of Caltech's Interferometry Science Center, offers interesting insights to the current status and future prospects of PTI. Most notably, "the current ISC plans call for this observing season [2002] to be the last full guaranteed observing season of V2 operation with PTI." The decision has not yet been made to allocate funds for PTI for 2003, and it is possible the interferometer will cease observing at the end of this year.
02.02.25 The website of the LBT now includes photographs of the telescope construction from the months of January and February 2002.
02.02.22 The Catalog of High Angular Resolution Measurements is described by Andrea Richichi and Isabelle Percheron and is available for download in electronic form. CDROMs of the catalog are also available by email request to or The catalog will soon be available through CDS.
02.02.22 The 2002 Meeting of the IAU Working Group on Optical/IR Interferometry will be held at the Waikaloa Hilton, 29-30 August 2002, in the two days immediately following the SPIE Interferometry Conferences. The meeting will continue the discussion of topics initiated at the 2001 meeting and will seek to explore other topics for international collaboration in optical/IR interferometry. The meeting will be open to all and will take place in the Kohala 1 Ballroom of the Hilton.
02.02.20 Recent mug shots of Keck Interferometer personnel are available courtesy of Gerard van Belle.
02.02.19 The OHANA Website now includes photographs from January 31 trip to observe with the CFHT. See under "Image Gallery" and "Mission January 2002". (Conditions on the mountain were extremely poor that week, as can be seen in the photographs).
02.02.19 ESA and ESO in association with the Leiden Observatory will be hosting a Workshop on the Ground based European Nulling Interferometry Experiment (GENIE) at the Lorenz conference center in Leiden (NL) 3-7 June 2002. For more details please see the Letter of Invitation.
02.02.19 The European Southern Observatory is advertising a vacancy for an Optical Engineer or Physist to conduct work on integrated modelling for the Darwin Mission. Applications are due by March 22, 2002.
02.02.06 The German-Italian Beam Combiner for the LBT, LINC/NIRVANA, is described through its own webpages, hosted at the MPIA. Move the mouse and note the underwear and optics that are revealed on the Design page.
02.02.05 Peter Lawson will begin work at NASA Headquarters, in Washington DC sometime in the summer of 2002 as the "Interferometry Discipline Scientist". He will be working for Anne Kinney, director of the Astronomy and Physics Division, within the Office of Space Science. See the following organization chart for further details. He will continue to be a JPL employee and will be detailed to HQ in support of Origins programs through the IPA mobility program, with an expected stay of two years. His support for OLBIN will continue as before.
02.02.01 The StarLight project has obtained first white-light fringes with their laboratory demo including separate combiner and telescope tables.
02.02.01 In the non-news news department, much to this editor's surprise has quoted verbatim comments from OLBIN concerning the TPF Final Architecture Review in December 2001: compare coverage at and text at OLBIN. Also of interest, the OLBIN links page has been reproduced in China at the SST/SOAST Web site.
02.02.01 The February AAS Job register includes two postdoctoral positions related to SIM. Research concerning SIM Preparatory Science with Anne Wehrle, and the development of the Extrasolar Planet Interferometric Survey with Mike Shao and Shri Kulkarni. Abstracts of related work to be conducted by the SIM Science Team can be found through theSIM AO Support page. The application deadline in each case is 15 March 2002.
02.02.01 The VLTI Web pages now include tutorials on stellar interferometry, observing strategies, and technical aspects of the VLTI.
02.02.01 The 2002 NASA Announcement of Research Opportunities in Space Science (ROSS) was released 28 January 2002. Interferometrists interested in applying for funding through this NASA Research Announcement should take a close look at possibilities through Space Astrophysics Research and Analysis. Notice of Intent is due 13 March 2002 with Proposals due 10 May 2002.
02.01.31 describes How New Technologies Could Revolutionize Big Telescope Designs in an overview of the state of the art and future of optical/IR interferometry. The story features an interview with Michael Hrynevych.
02.01.31 Further details of the Request for Proposals (RFP) for SIM Grid Star Verification is available at the SIM Research website. The RFP is expected to be issued in May 2002, with the deadline for public comment being February 15, 2002.
02.01.31 The VLTI Implementation Committee, established by ESO and the national institutions which contribute to the VLTI, has issued a White Paper on VLTI Policy dated 17 December 2001. The white paper describes the present opportunities for the scientific exploitation of the VLTI and recommends priorities for future development. An aggressive development of PRIMA is recommended along with the efforts towards the funding of a fourth Auxialliary telescope, and the paper strongly supports the development of the Ground-based European Nulling Interferometer Experiment (GENIE).
02.01.31 The Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer has commenced operation using its 6-way beam combiner. See the What's New page at the NPOI website for details and numerous example data sets. This is the first time that a stellar interferometer has operated with phase tracking on 6 baselines simultaneously.
02.01.31 The current status and future plans for NASA's Navigator Program is described by Phil Crane, NASA Headquarters, through his presentation at the January meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The Navigator Program includes all of JPL's interferometry projects (Keck Interferometer, StarLight, SIM, TPF) as well as the Large Binocular Telescope.
02.01.31 Scientific data from the VLTI commissioning are now available. The data from VINCI is restricted for use by astronomers from ESO member countries that are registered users of the ESO Science Archive Facility (register here:
02.01.21 Robert Hanbury Brown, physicist and astronomer and pioneer of stellar interferometry, passed away 16 January 2002 at the age of 85. See the notice in the OLBIN Forum, as well as obituaries in the Guardian and Independent newspapers. See also Australia's Radio National broadcast Professor Robert Hanbury Brown of 26 January 2002.
02.01.15 The JENAM 2002 meeting in Portugal 3-7 September 2002 will include a workshop on The Very Large Telescope Interferometer: Challenges for the Future.
02.01.15 Solicitations for the 2002 NASA Research Announcement (NRA) for Research Opportunities in Space Science (ROSS) will be released on the 25th or 28th January 2002. Interferometrists interested in applying for funding through this NRA should investigate possibilities within the solicitation of Space Astrophysics Research and Analysis (SARA). Appendix 7 of the 2001 ROSS/SARA NRA contains general information about this program. A link to the 2002 NRA will be posted here when it becomes available.
02.01.15 The NASA Research Announcement for the "TPF Preparatory Science Program" is due to be released in June or July 2002. The first awards will be for the period of 2002-2006 with a total funding for the whole program of about $1M. Phil Crane at NASA HQ is now soliciting comments concerning how program should be structured.
02.01.15 The new Planet Quest website describes the interferometry missions being developed at JPL. See in particular the 3D interactive Keck interferometer tour and interactive model of Starlight (aka ST-3 or DS-3).
02.01.15 Eugene (Bodie) Seneta has joined the COAST group. Bodie was a graduate student and postdoc at the Sydney University Stellar Interferometer (SUSI) and is now taking up a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Cavendish Laboratory. Marc Ollivier, a PhD student of Alain Leger, will be taking up a post at the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale in Paris in connection with the COROT mission. Jean-Philippe Berger will be working with the CHARA group investigating the use of integrated optics at the CHARA Array prior to taking up a staff position at the LAOG in Grenoble in summer 2002.
02.01.15 The SIM science team has released summaries of proposed work in Science with the Space Interferometry Mission (PDF), edited by Stephen Unwin and Slava Turyshev. Paper copies of this document were also available at AAS Meeting in Washington this month.
02.01.15 First fringes at the VLTI with two Unit telescopes is described by Andreas Glindemann et al. in the December 2001 issue of the ESO Messenger.
02.01.04 The Keck Interferometer Shared Risk Science programs are described on the Keck Interferometer web pages.
02.01.04 The US Naval Observatory's third catalog of interferometric measurements of double stars is presented by Bill Hartkopf, Hal McAlister, and Brian Mason in the December issue of the Astronomical Journal. [Astron. J. 122, 3480-3481 (2001)]. It has in fact already been superceded by the Fourth Catalog of Interferometric Measurements of Binary Stars. The catalog includes all published measures of binary and multiple star systems obtained by high-resolution techniques (speckle interferometry, photoelectric occultation timings, etc.), as of September 2001 and is available on CDROM free of charge from the authors.
02.01.03 The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Gronigen, has an opening for a tenure-track instrumentation oriented staff position with prospects for involvement with the development of the VLTI. See the ad in the AAS Job Register, No. 12502. See also the recent announcement in the OLBIN Forum for the position at the Leiden Observatory.