News 2000

Editorial of December 18, 2000
Editorial of 9 Dec 1999 and 2 March 2000.

00.12.28 The Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomie is advertising the availability of three postdoctoral positions with work related to infrared interferometry, including long-baseline interferometry with the GI2T, IOTA, and the VLTI. See Position No 11767 in the January 2001 AAS Job Register, and details at the MPIfR Web Site. Deadline for submissions is 1 February 2001. For more information contact Gerd Weigelt at
00.12.21 VINCI is being disassembled in preparation for shipment to Paranal. Photographs of the preparations are available at the VINCI web site courtesy of Pierre Kervella. VINCI is a copy of FLUORand will be the commissioning beam-combiner for the VLTI.
00.12.18 A long-overdue Editorial, December 18, 2000, summarises ongoing work on OLBIN and plans for the Michelson Summer Schools.
00.12.15 ST-3, previously known as DS-3, has recently been renamed StarLight. StarLight is a two element free-flying space interferometer being developed by NASA as a technology precusor for the Terrestrial Planet Finder mission. StarLight is scheduled for launch in 2005.
00.12.06 The group at NPOI have recently completed the installation of telescopes 5 and 6 in preparation for 6-way beam combination. More details may be found through the NPOI Web Pages.
00.12.01 Andreas Quirrenbach (UC San Diego) has been invited by Annual Reviews to write the review paper Optical Interferometry for Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. **39** (2001), which will cover advances in the field since the review by M. Shao and M.M. Colavita [Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 30, 457-498 (1992)].
00.11.30 Details of experiments with IONIC at IOTA following first fringes are described courtesy of Pierre Kern. See Preliminary Results with Integrated Optics at IOTA on OLBIN and the corresponding email (in French) at the Forum HRA.
00.11.27 IONIC, the integrated optics beam combiner being developed by the Université de Grenoble and LEMO, obtained first fringes just before sunrise, 5:45 am Sunday, 26 November 2000, at the IOTA interferometer. Fringes in H-band were obtained on Beta Gem. The following day fringes were also obtained on Iota Auri and 119 Tau. On hand at IOTA were Jean Philippe Berger, Pierre Haguenauer, Rafael Milan Gabet, and Pierre Kern. A more detailed description with an image of the fringes is given in French by Pierre Kern on the Forum HRA.
00.11.22 The government of the United Kingdom is making funds available to join the European Southern Observatory (ESO). A detailed proposal for the associated UK/ESO Agreement will soon be presented to the ESO Council for approval. More details are available through the ESO Press Release, and the press release from the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council(PPARC).
00.11.21 The Precision French Driving Team Homepage is now available on OLBIN. Contributions to this page are welcome. (Courtesy of Kent Wallace and Fabien Malbet.)
00.11.16 The SIM Science Team has been announced. For details see the SIM Research Opportunities Web Page and in particular the Letter from Phil Crane.
00.11.16 The Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur (OCA) is seeking applicants for the 2001 Henri Poincaré Postdoctoral Fellowships, as described at Applicants are sought for research in the fields of astronomy, interferometry, gravitational waves, and turbulence. The Fellowships are to begin between September 2001 and January 2002. The deadline for applications is 31 December 2000. Applicants interested in research with the GI2T are encouraged to contact Denis Mourard (
00.11.13 The commissioning instrument of the VLTI is described in the ESO Press Release MONA, LISA and VINCI Soon Ready to Travel to Paranal.
00.11.01 The Michelson Fellowship Program is inviting applications for its Postdoctoral Fellowships and Graduate Student Fellowships. Fellowships will start in September 2001 or earlier, by mutual agreement between the successful applicant and the host institution. The application deadline is 22 December 2000. For more information consult the announcements in the AAS Job Register:Michelson Postdoctoral Fellowships, and Michelson Graduate Student Fellowships. For further information consult the Michelson Fellowship Web Page, or contact Rudolf Danner at
00.10.30 The 2001 Michelson Summer School will take place at Flagstaff, Arizona, 21-25 May 2001. This summer school will emphasize strategies of observation and data reduction with an emphasis on synthesis imaging at optical/IR wavelengths. Subjects related to engineering and potential astrophysics with interferometers, having been covered in previous summer schools, will only be briefly reviewed.
00.10.30 At the IAU General Assembly in Manchester in August 2000, the IAU Working Group on Optical/IR Interferometry was moved from under Commission 9 (Instruments) to become an official division-level working group within Division IX (Optical and Infrared Techniques). Chris Sterken, with the assistance of John Davis, Hal McAlister, and Denis Mourard, had proposed to create a Commission on Optical/IR Interferometry, but that was not approved by the Executive of the IAU. Nonetheless, an official division-level working group was created. The new Chair of the working group is Peter Lawson. The current president of Division IX is Arlo Landolt. The organization of the Working Group is now in progress. Some details concerning its organization may be found at theIAU Page on OLBIN.
00.10.16 A post-doctoral position is available at the Max-Plank-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) for work relating to the development of a laboratory nulling interferometer. For details please consult theannouncement posted in the Forum HRA, or contact Tom Herbst at MPIA ( Applications are due by 15 December 2000.
00.10.12 The first delay line of the VLTI has now been installed at Paranal. The second is to be installed in November and the third in February 2001. First light with siderostats is expected soon after, with combination of light from the 8.2 m Unit Telescopes to take place in mid-2001. See the press release and photographs from ESO (Courtesy of Andreas Glindemann).
00.10.09 The Los Angeles Times published the article Lonely - but with Atmosphere in the Southern California Living section of the Sunday, October 8th, 2000 edition. The article describes the advent of remote observing and how the CHARA Array at the Mount Wilson Observatory is yet following the traditional hands-on approach.
00.10.06 VINCI, the commissioning instrument of the VLTI, has been sent from Meudon to Garching and is now being integrated with the IR camera built by the Max-Planck-Institut for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE). Recent photographs of VINCI at ESO (4-5 October 2000) show it undergoing integration in the lab. VINCI will be shipped to Paranal at Christmas. The integration of all subsystems of the VLTI start in the new year. (Courtesy of Andreas Glindemann.)
00.10.06 The third telescope of the Infrared Spatial Interferometer (ISI) has now arrived on Mount Wilson and is undergoing preliminary testing. It is shown here during the dedication ceremony of the CHARA Array.
00.10.05 The dedication of the CHARA Array took place on Mount Wilson October 4, 2000. Pictures of the dedication are available through OLBIN.
00.10.02 Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position with Georgia State University for the development of spatially resolved spectrometry with the CHARA Array. The initial appointment will be one year with a possible one-year extension. Deadline for applications is 5 November 2000. Interested applicants please contact W.G Bagnuolo at Also see the add in theAAS October Job Register.
00.09.29 The book DARWIN, The InfraRed Space Interferometer: Concept and Feasibility Study Report [ESA-SCI(2000)12] has been published. Copies may be obtained by emailing M. Fridlund (, A. Karlsson (, or S. Volonte (
00.09.29 The Space Science Advisory Committee for ESA has recommended that BepiColombo be chosen for Cornerstone 5 (scheduled for launch in 2009) and GAIA as Cornerstone 6 for launch as soon as possible but probably in the 2009-2012 time frame. Further news is available through ESA News in Brief. Technology development for DARWIN is being encouraged, with work now focusing on a SMART-2 mission to be shared with LISA, for launch in 2005. DARWIN itself is still being considered by ESA but a launch date would be sometime after 2013. (Courtesy of Malcolm Fridlund.)
00.09.29 DIVA has been chosen as a national program in Germany. See the News Item (in german) at the German Aerospace Center DLR.
00.09.29 The NPOI paper on the measurement on the diameter of Cepheid variables has been accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal. Preprints are avaiblable courtesy of Tom Armstrong (PostScript 362 kB).
00.09.16 The University of Puerto Rico (Mayaguez) is looking for potential candidates for a position involving hardware development and design with the Magdalena Ridge Observatory in both its interferometer and adaptive optics programs. A position could open as early as January 2001. For details please see the OLBIN Jobs Page.
00.09.05 Aerial photographs of Mount Wilson showing the CHARA Array are available courtesy of Theo ten Brummelaar.
00.09.04 The recent SIM Newsletter notes that NASA has requested a delayed launch for the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), now to be scheduled for September 2009.
00.09.04 Photographs of the 2000 Michelson Summer School are available courtesy of Gerard van Belle. See directories Film1, Film2, and Film3.
00.09.03 The course notes for the 1999 Michelson Summer School Principles of Long Baseline Stellar Interferometry are now available on the web as PDF files. Note: In the PDF files there are errors in the Helvetica fonts for certain ligatures. Theses errors do not exist in the bound volumes, but are an artifact of the conversion to PDF.
00.08.15 The course notes of the 1999 Michelson Interferometry Summer School are now in print and are available free of charge. If you would like a copy of "Principles of Long Baseline Stellar Interferometry" edited by P.R. Lawson, JPL Publication 00-9 (Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Pasadena, California, 2000) please email Debi Fambro ( with your name and address and include in the subject line "1999 Course Notes". If you attended the 1999 Summer School, or will be attending the 2000 Summer School, you will be contacted separately.
00.08.08 Photographs of work with VINCI along with an extensive assortment of photographs of other interferometers (FLUOR/IOTA, CHARA, ISI, PTI, and NPOI) are available courtesy of Pierre Kervella (ESO).
00.08.05 Photographs at the CHARA Array, taken on 3 August 2000, are available courtesy of Gerard van Belle (JPL).
00.08.05 A hypermail version of Tom Pauls' software discussion forum is now available through OLBIN.
00.08.03 NEVEC, Leiden Observatory is advertising the position of Interferometric Astronomer with submission deadline of 15 November 2000. See also the advertisement at NEVEC.
00.08.03 Two positions in the VLTI group have recently been advertised. One is for a Software Engineer (application deadline 25 August 2000). and the other is VLTI Instrument Scientist (applications deadline 30 September 2000). Courtesy of Markus Schöller.
00.07.19 Recent photographs of developments at the Keck Interferometer are available courtesy of Gerard van Belle. These show images of the delay-line tunnel and lab area on July 11, July 13, and July 14. As shown in the photographs of July 13th, starlight from the siderostats now arrives at a CCD camera in the lab. See also the images of Arcturus, 15 June 2000.
00.07.17 A list of suggested reading is available from Appendix B (PDF file; 87 KB) of Principles of Long Baseline Stellar Interferometry, Course Notes from the 1999 Michelson Summer School. The course notes contain 18 Chapters and 2 Appendices. They have been sent to the government printing office and are due to be published by August 11, 2000.
00.07.17 The proceedings of the SPIE Conference on Interferometry in Optical Astronomy (SPIE vol. 4006) edited by P.J. Lena and A. Quirrenbach have been shipped to conference attendees and is now available.
00.07.12 The instrument paper describing the Infrared Spatial Interferometer (ISI) has recently appeared in the Astrophysical Journal. See Hale et al., p. 998 of Ap.J. vol 537.
00.07.05 50 photographs on Mnt Wilson, showing the CHARA Array, the Infrared Spatial Interferometer, the Mark III interferometer, and Michelson's 20-ft interferometer, taken by Peter Lawson on June 28, 2000.
00.06.27 Tom Pauls at the Naval Research Laboratory has been hosting an email discussion forum on the topic of data formats and image analysis tools for optical/infrared interferometry. Information on how to subscribe to the discussion group can be found in the OLBIN Software Page. There is not yet a web-based link to this forum.
00.06.22 Jim Breckinridge, Program Manager for Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation at the Astronomical Sciences Division of the National Science Foundation, hosted a workshop June 11-14 in Socorro, New Mexico, on Optical Interferometric Imaging with the aim of promoting the development of optical/infrared synthesis imaging from the ground. Present at the meeting were 24 people including Tim Cornwell, Andreas Quirrenbach, Hal McAlister, Theo ten Brummelaar, David Mozurkewich, Tom Armstrong, Tom Pauls, Francois Roddier, Andy Boden, Wes Traub, David Westpfahl, Charles Townes, Peter Tuthill, Chris Haniff, and David Buscher. A white-paper will be forthcoming from these discussions in support of future technology development through the NSF.
00.06.17 The Board of Regents at the University of Hawaii has approved the Mauna Kea Master Plan. See the UH News release and the the report in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin "Three New Telescopes Approved for Summit of Mauna Kea".
00.06.14 The Action Spécifique Haute Résolution Angulaire is hosting the first GI2T/REGAIN School of Optical Interferometry from the 6 to the 8 of September 2000. Approximately 20 students and researchers will take part in this school. The material covered will include: Introduction to optical interferometry; Detailed presentation of the GI2T/REGAIN; Introduction to data reduction; Guidelines for preparing observations; and a night of observing at the GI2T/REGAIN. Financial assistance may be obtained with priority given to students. Applications should be submitted before July 15th to indicating your name, home institution, and title. More details available (in french) at the GI2T web site.
00.06.14 ONERA and the CNES are hosting a one-day symposium on the subject of Interférométrie et Synthèse d'Ouverture Optique [Interferometry and Optical Aperture Synthesis] on June 29th, 2000. The symposium is held in support of ongoing research at the french defense and space agencies, and the proceedings will be published in a special issue of the Comptes-Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences [Proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences].
00.06.05 Photographs of progress with the prototype boule telescope for the OVLA (in french).
00.05.31 ESO Press Release 14/00 includes several VLTI news items: the opening of the Nova-ESO VLTI Expertise Center in Leiden (Netherlands) on 26 May 2000; a new view of Paranal; description of industry contracts; and videos showing construction of the VLTI delay line and auxilliary telescopes.
00.05.19 The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) received strong support from the US Decadal Survey Committee in their recommendations for new initiatives for 2000-2010. The report, Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millenium (link to full text) was today released to the public (see the Press Release). The new initiatives are prioritized in Table 1.1 and are described in Chapter 1: Recommendations. The survey committee's support of TPF is described in Chapter 3, Section 2.5.
00.05.17 The Action Spécifique Haute Résolution Angulaire proposes a postdoctoral position, funded through the French Space Agency, the Centre National des Etudes Spatiales. The position is for a specialist in data reduction who has experience with long baseline interferometry, to participate in the goals of the Action Spécifique Haute Résolution Angulaire in the exploitation of the VLTI and GI2T/REGAIN interferometers. For more details refer to the OLBIN Announcement or contact D. Mourard ( Deadline for applications is 31 May 2000.
00.05.17 Michelson Fellowships have been awarded: Graduate Fellowships have been awarded to Yuan Liu (Univ New York at Stony Brook), David Berger (Georgia State Univ), Doug Hope (Univ New Mexico), Alice Liu (MIT). Postdoctoral Fellowships have been awarded to Marc Kuchner (Caltech), Maciej Konacki (Caltech), and Jean-Philippe Berger (Harvard-Smithsonian, CfA). The JPLPress Release has further details.
00.05.15 The GI2T/REGAIN interferometer has posted a call for proposals for the period 1 Sept 2000 to 28 Feb 2001. The submission deadline is 30 June 2000. More details are available (in french) as described by Denis Mourard: Appel à programmes scientifiques GI2T/REGAIN.
00.05.11 Contributed papers from the SPIE Conference (4006) in Munich are now available from various groups: VLTI, COAST, IOTA, and MIDI.
00.04.20 Photographs of the COAST group and others at the SPIE Interferometry meeting in Munich, courtesy of David Buscher.
00.04.17 Prof. Antoine Labeyrie will be awared the 2000 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Engineering. A Symposium to be held in his honor will take place April 28, 2000 at the University of Pennsylvania. TheProgram and Agenda of the Symposium are available (Courtesy of Jean Schneider).
00.04.14 Where's Wally comes to OLBIN: Can you find Mark Colavita in this picture taken at the SPIE conference on Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation? Check the answer here.
00.04.13 The tutorial paper Introduction to Interferometry from the ESO Workshop on Science with the VLT Interferometer, edited by F. Paresce (1997), is available courtesy of Tim Bedding.
00.04.10 Prof. Antoine Labeyrie describes research on hyper-telescopes or Des miroirs géants en pointillé (in French) for the detection of extra-solar planets in the March issue of La Recherche (Courtesy of Jean Schneider).
00.04.10 The Second Announcement for the 2000 Michelson Summer School has been released (UC Berkeley, 21-25 August 2000).
00.04.10 A Roadmap for Planet-hunting is described in the Science and Technology section of this week's Economist (Courtesy of Rachel Akeson).
00.04.10 Examples of Group Delay Tracking as shown by Christian Hummel during his talk "Practice of Interferometry with NPOI," at SPIE conference on Interferometry in Optical Astronomy (Courtesy of C.A. Hummel).
00.04.10 A group photo of various mugs at the SPIE Astronomy 2000 Conference Dinner at the Deutsche Museum, Munich Germany (Courtesy of Sallie Cruise).
00.04.07 The linear motors for the VLTI delay lines are described in the Sample Projects page of the Tecnotion web site.
00.04.07 The MIDI science instrument for the VLTI has passed its Critical Design Review and is in the process of ordering parts for its construction.
00.04.07 Both the Keck Interferometer and the VLTI interferometer are planning on obtaining first fringes using siderostats within the next year. As reported at the SPIE meeting in Munich, first fringes at the VLTI should occur in February 2001. First fringes with the Keck Interferometer should occur in December 2000.
00.04.07 The foundations of the MIRA-1.2 interferometer have been poured.
00.03.20 Progress on BLINC (BracewelL Infrared Nulling Cryostat) for use with the refurbished MMT, is described through the web pages of Phil Hinz (Univ. Arizona).
00.03.17 The IOTA web pages have been updated (courtesy of Irene Porro).
00.03.16 Through the Origins Program NASA will be funding four groups of industrial/academic teams to provide architecture studies for the proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder. The groups include Ball Aerospace with Bob Brown, Ron Allen, Alan Boss, Jerry Nelson, Wes Traub, and Andreas Quirrenbach; Lockheed Martin with Roger Angel, Nick Woolf, James Westphal, and John Mather; TRWwith Alan Dressler, Frank Shu, Vincent Coude du Foresto, and Ken Johnston; SVS with Steve Ridgway, Antoine Labeyrie, Francois Roddier, Jean Schneider, Bill Danchi, and Charles H. Townes. The names listed here represent only a partial list of those involved. The contracts are to last 21 months beginning in April 2000 and each worth $2.1 million (USD).
00.03.16 - Homepage of OSIRIS describes the effort at the Russian Institute of Astronomy to develop an astrometric interferometer for the Russian segment of the International Space Station.
00.02.23 - Several recent photos at the CHARA Array courtesy of Hal McAlister and Theo ten Brummelaar.
00.02.17 - Two GI2T interferograms have been posted in the image gallery of the web pages of the Optical and Infrared Interferometry Group at MPIfR (Germany).
00.02.17 - The First Announcement for the 2000 Michelson Summer School, to be held at the University of California (Berkeley) 21-25 August 2000, has been released. The application form for the School is included in the announcement.
00.02.15 - Progress with the VLTI is described in an article by Glindemann et al. in the December 1999 issue of The ESO Messenger.
00.02.09 - SPIE Milestone volume 139 of Selected Reprints in Long Baseline Stellar Interferometry will be reprinted with minor editorial corrections and a slightly extended bibliography. There have been in total 189 copies sold by SPIE, with a remaining stock of 20 copies.
00.02.02 - The third Unit Telescope is now operational at the Very Large Telescope site in Chile. See ESO press release And then there were Three...! (00.01.26).
00.01.21 - W.C. Danchi has taken up a position at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in the Infrared Astrophysics Branch to expand the interferometry program there and participate in the SPIRIT and SPECS space interferometer projects. He is now working part time at Berkeley and will be moving to Goddard at the end of August 2000. His work at the ISI and at the Keck Telescopes will continue.
00.01.19 - Following a contract signature on December 15, 1999, the manufacturing of the VLTI Commissionning instrument VINCI (a VLTized copy of FLUOR) has begun this month at DESPA (Observatoire de Paris). It is due to be delivered at ESO in Garching, Germany, around mid-september 2000 for integration with the camera and final testing, before being shipped to Paranal. (Courtesy of Vincent Coude du Foresto.)
00.01.19 - The Ph.D. thesis by Rainer Wilhelm, Novel numerical model for dynamic simulation of optical stellar interferometers has been accepted at the Technical University of Berlin.
00.01.07 - The 2000 Michelson Summer School will be held at the campus of University of California, Berkeley, August 21-25 2000. The emphasis this year will be on astronomy and astrophysics. The design and engineering of optical/IR interferometers, will not be covered. More details will be forthcoming on the Michelson Summer School home page.