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Development of nulling interferometry devices for the detection and characterization of extrasolar planets

Abstract : Most of the 500 extra-solar planets detected to date have been discovered either by radial velocity measurements or photometric transits but very few by direct techniques. Direct imaging of exoplanets, however, gives access to a wider variety of information on the planet, from its orbital position to its spectrum, but is a difficult task to achieve because of the small angular separation between the star and its planet and the large flux ratio between them. For these two reasons, direct imaging of exoplanets has up to now been limited to the most favorable cases of bright giant exoplanets orbiting at large distances from their host stars. The present work aims at developing the high dynamic range capabilities of single- and multi-aperture imaging techniques for the detection and characterization of planetary systems. The first part of this work reports studies of adaptive optics-aided ground-based telescopes and their complementarity with space-based facilities for the detection of extra-solar planets. Results obtained with the Well-Corrected Subaperture at Palomar observatory on narrow multiple systems are then used to illustrate this study. The second part of this work is dedicated to stellar and nulling interferometry. We first present a new data reduction technique for interferometry using the statistical distributions of the noise sources to significantly improve the precision of interferometric measurements. This technique is then applied to the Palomar Fiber Nuller instrument at Palomar observatory to constrain the presence of dust and companions in the innermost regions of Vega's stellar environment and to derive stellar angular diameters with very high accuracies. Finally, we introduce an on-going survey that we are pursuing with the AMBER interferometric instrument at the Very Large Telescope (Cerro Paranal, Chile) aiming at detecting sub-stellar companions around young main sequence stars.
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Contributor : Charles Hanot <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 9:45:39 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 6, 2018 - 10:10:02 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, December 3, 2016 - 3:31:14 PM


  • HAL Id : tel-00592081, version 1


Charles Hanot. Development of nulling interferometry devices for the detection and characterization of extrasolar planets. Astrophysics [astro-ph]. Université de Liège, 2011. English. ⟨tel-00592081⟩



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