News 2008


08.11.21
ESO has issued a Call for Proposals for Phase A studies of the VLTI 2nd generation Fringe Tracker (2GFT). Proposals should reach ESO by 19 December. Selected Phase A studies (up to 3) will be awarded a fixed grant of 40,000 Eur, and are expected to start as early as possible, preferably in January 2009. The Call and related documents can be obtained from Mr. Gerd Wieland at the ESO Contract and Procuments section (gwieland at eso.org). (Courtesy of Andrea Richichi.)
08.10.20
Further details of the first three-beam fringes with the VEGA combiner at the CHARA Array are available (courtesy of Denis Mourard).
08.10.10
The VEGA beam combiner at the CHARA Array has measured fringes on three beams simultaneously on the night of October 8, 2008. Fringes were recorded on a calibrator (HD3360) on the triplets (S1,S2,W2) and (S2,W1,W2). These triplets correspond to baselines [34 m / 177 m / 211 m] and [107 m / 177 m / 251 m]. See the attached spectral density recorded at medium spectral resolution (R~6000) around the Halpha line : the 3 pupils are combined in a redundant configuration and in the dispersed fringe mode. Two fringe patterns present the same interfringe (the High Frequency peaks corresponding to the fringes are a the same vertical position in the spectral density) but are tracked and locked at different OPD so as to be horizontally shifted in the spectral density. Once the two fringe tracker are on, the third fringe pattern, corresponding to the longest pupil distance), appears in the spectral density as a fringe peak with highest frequency. The observers were P.J. Goldfinder, Karrine Perraut, and Denis Mourard. (Courtesy of Theo ten Brummelaar.)
08.10.10
ESO has issued the press release Winds from Infant Stars describing results of observations of young stars: the Be star 51 Ophiuchi and 5 Herbig Ae/Be stars.
08.09.18
ESO has issued the press release Future looks bright for interferometry describing first fringes with PRIMA. "On 2 September 2008, as a first milestone, starlight from two VLTI 1.8-m Auxiliary Telescopes was fed into the PRIMA system, and interference fringes were detected on PRIMA's Fringe Sensor Unit. Three days later the system was routinely using active tracking on the fringes, compensating for atmospheric turbulence." [Subsequent milestones will no doubt include simultaneous fringe tracking on two stars as viewed through the star separators and tracked by the differential delay lines. - PRL]
08.09.18
TNO announced the successful installation and testing of PRIMA's Star separators on two Auxiliary VLTI telescopes. Details of the star separators are available at the TNO webpage PRIMA Star Separators for VLTI Telescopes.
08.09.18
Information is available describing the Differential Delay Line (DDL) for PRIMA, which was installed this past summer. See Image Gallery for photos from August 2008. More information about the DDL work is available courtesy of the ESPRI consortium.
08.09.12
An AMBER Instrument-specific query form is available to provide access to observations performed with AMBER that are stored on-line in the Science Archive Facility in Garching.
08.09.12
Roger Blandford of Stanford University has been appointed Chair of the 2010 Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey.
08.09.04
The first announcement has been issued for the workshop on The Interferometric View on Hot Stars to be held in ViƱa del Mar,Chile, March 2-6, 2009.
08.09.04
The Sagan Fellowships have been announced through the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute.
08.08.22
A propos of nothing in particular, have a listen to Marc Kuchner's music at his My Space page. (This editor was very impressed by the production values and reasonably sure that's not Marc's vocals on "I'm still growing up.") On a related topic there are also Facebook pages by Bertrand Mennesson, Theo ten Brummelaar, and a travel blog by Gerard van Belle.
08.08.01
The webpages of the United States Interferometry Consortium (USIC) are now available. The goal of the consortium is a forum to coordinate efforts amongst the different optical interferometers in the US and includes participants from the CHARA Array, ISI, MRO, NPOI, NOAO, LBTI, and the Keck Interferometer. For more information, contact Theo ten Brummelaar.
08.07.03
The OIFITSlib library has been released. OIFITSlib is a C library for input/output, merging, filtering and checking of optical/IR interferometry datasets in the OIFITS exchange format. OIFITSlib provides a file-level API built on top of the table-level code, containing functions to read and write an entire OIFITS file (see oifile.h). Command-line utilities oifits-merge, oifits-filter and oifits-check are also provided - these provide simple user interfaces to OIFITSlib routines. Source code is available at the OIFITS website.
08.06.03
The Japanese balloon interferometer experiment Far-infrared Interferometric Telescope Experiment (FITE)will be launched from Brazil in 2008. For news, see the Stratocat website.
08.05.07
New Scientist has an article on electromagnetic formation flying concepts with videos. The baseline concept for a TPF array still uses traditional thrusters, because fuel consumption doesn't appear to be a problem.
08.04.30
The European Space Agency has announced the creation of its ExoPlanet Roadmap Advisory Team to report in Summer 2009.
08.04.30
The Palomar Testbed Interferometer will cease science operations and be dismantled in December 2008.
08.04.30
The Terrestrial Planet Finder Project will cease being funded as a project by NASA in September 2008, but will continue a subset of its technology activities through NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program.
08.04.30
David Hyland of Texas A&M University has an intensity interferometry project in development. For details see the Intensity Correlation Array website.
08.04.11
Peter Tuthill's WR 104 Webpage shows 6 years of animated data of this bright Wolf Rayet star.
08.04.11
The Space Interferomety Mission has selected four teams to participate in a blind astrometric data reduction analysis.
08.04.11
The Large Binocular Telescope achieves first binocular light. See the press release from the University of Arizona.
08.03.21
The Precision Astronomical Visible Observations (PAVO) beam combiner obtained first fringes on 17 March 2008 at the CHARA Array on Mnt. Wilson. Fringes were automatically found and tracked on lam Uma (R=3.4) on the 106-m W1-W2 baseline. An image showing an example 9ms exposure can be foundHERE. These are spatially modulated fringes in a pupil-plane, with 16 lenslets dispersing the fringes into ~24 wavelength channels between 620 and 950 nm. (Courtesy of Michael Ireland.)
08.03.03
A workshop entitled SUSI: Past, Present and Future will be held 29 May 2008 at the University of Sydney in honor of Prof. John Davis's 75th birthday.
08.03.03
The article Israeli fibers help NASA locate livable planets in the universe describes Prof. Abraham Katzir's work in developing Silver Halide single-mode mid-IR fibers for TPF.
08.02.29
The Space Interferometry Mission-PlanetQuest (SIM/PQ) project is seeking external teams of scientists to participate in a demonstration of SIM/PQ's astrometric analysis of multiple-planet exoplanet systems. Proposals are due to the MSC by 5PM PST 17 March 2008. Please see the proposal call for details.
08.02.11
The AAAC ExoPlanet Task Force report Worlds Beyond, drafted to advise NASA and the NSF, is now available.
08.01.29
Observations with the disk around MWC 147 are described in a press release by the European Southern Observatory Growing-up of a Star.
08.01.29
Results of the Keck Nuller are described in the press release Nova Phenomenon Explained with Nulling Mode at Keck Observatory. Also see the paper Milliarcsecond N-Band Observations of the Nova RS Ophiuchi: First Science with the Keck Interferometer Nuller by R. K. Barry et al.
08.01.29
The NSF/NOAO report Renewing Small Telescopes for Astronomical Research includes recommendations for the future support of interferometry in the US. The report committee was formed in May, 2007 by Todd Boroson, Interim Director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, at the request of the National Science Foundation Division of Astronomical Sciences.
08.01.29
The Press Release pages of the Magdalena Ridge Observatory illustrate the development of this new facility.
08.01.29
Rachel Akeson is interviewed in the PlanetQuest story Science is in the genes.
08.01.29
The Michelson Postdoc and Graduate Student Fellowships call has been suspended in 2008. The Michelson Science Center hopes to reissue the next call in 2009.
08.01.29
Version 2.0 of the AMBER data reduction software has been released.
08.01.15
News and speculation of SIM's financial future appeared in Nature. See the article in the edition that appeared online 15 January 2008 | Nature 451, 228-229 (2007) (Subscription required.)