Artificial incoherent speckles enable precision astrometry and photometry in high-contrast imaging [IMA]

State-of-the-art coronagraphs employed on extreme adaptive optics enabled instruments, are constantly improving the contrast detection limit for companions at ever closer separations to the host star. In order to constrain their properties and ultimately compositions, it is important to precisely determine orbital parameters and contrasts with respect to the stars they orbit. This can be difficult in the post coronagraphic image plane, as by definition the central star has been occulted by the coronagraph. We demonstrate the flexibility of utilizing the deformable mirror in the adaptive optics system in SCExAO to generate a field of speckles for the purposes of calibration. Speckles can be placed up to $22.5~\lambda/D$ from the star, with any position angle, brightness and abundance required. Most importantly, we show that a fast modulation of the added speckle phase, between $0$ and $\pi$, during a long science integration renders these speckles effectively incoherent with the underlying halo. We quantitatively show for the first time that this incoherence in turn, increases the robustness and stability of the adaptive speckles which will improve the precision of astrometric and photometric calibration procedures. This technique will be valuable for high-contrast imaging observations with imagers and integral field spectrographs alike.

Read this paper on arXiv…

N. Jovanovic, O. Guyon, F. Martinache, et. al.
Fri, 16 Oct 15

Comments: 5 pages, 3 figures, 1 table, Accepted to ApJL