Simultaneous Water Vapor and Dry Air Optical Path Length Measurements and Compensation with the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer

29 Jul 2016  ·  Defrère D., Hinz P., Downey E., Böhm M., Danchi W. C., Durney O., Ertel S., Hill J. M., Hoffmann W. F., Mennesson B., Millan-Gabet R., Montoya M., Pott J. -U., Skemer A., Spalding E., Stone J., Vaz A. ·

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer uses a near-infrared camera to measure the optical path length variations between the two AO-corrected apertures and provide high-angular resolution observations for all its science channels (1.5-13 $\mu$m). There is however a wavelength dependent component to the atmospheric turbulence, which can introduce optical path length errors when observing at a wavelength different from that of the fringe sensing camera... Water vapor in particular is highly dispersive and its effect must be taken into account for high-precision infrared interferometric observations as described previously for VLTI/MIDI or the Keck Interferometer Nuller. In this paper, we describe the new sensing approach that has been developed at the LBT to measure and monitor the optical path length fluctuations due to dry air and water vapor separately. After reviewing the current performance of the system for dry air seeing compensation, we present simultaneous H-, K-, and N-band observations that illustrate the feasibility of our feedforward approach to stabilize the path length fluctuations seen by the LBTI nuller. read more

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Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics