Joint research activity

Image reconstruction in optical interferometry

Optical interferometry (OI) provides an important complement to the other large telescope projects of the next 10 years in Europe: its ten times higher angular resolution (compared to the more sensitive E-ELT and JWST) and its different wavelength (with respect to ALMA) provide a unique astronomical microscope to peer into the innermost regions of planets, stars and black holes formation. The linear scales resolved by optical interferometry offer for the first time the possibility to directly image transient astrophysical processes, like the formation and destruction of circumstellar material during planet formation as well as motion under the gravitational pull of a supermassive black hole.

During the previous FP6, we initiated the development of software tools for preparation of interferometric observations and for calibration and modelling of interferometric data. Subsequently, these tools have been continuously improved by the community and have encouraged more astronomers to make use of interferometry observations. We now need to go a step further as the ability to reconstruct images is essential to exploit the very high angular resolution provided by the next generation multi-telescope instruments such as Matisse, Gravity and Pionier at Europe’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), LINC-Nirvana at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) or Vega at the CHARA interferometer. Image reconstruction algorithms for optical/IR interferometric and variable point spread function (PSF) data are now mature (Hofmann et al., 2005; le Besnerais et al., 2008; Thiébaut 2009; Berger et al., 2011; Desider et al., 2008, but they remain difficult for non-specialists to use and do not exploit all the capabilities of the new instruments (notably hyper-spectral imaging). This work package will provide user-friendly image reconstruction software that allows the whole community to exploit the interferometric imaging capabilities that will be offered by current facilities a few years from now.

Workpackages
4.1. Management
4.1. Unified image reconstruction description (schedule: T0 + 12 months)
4.2. Data reduction tools for Fizeau interferometry (schedule: T0 + 30 months).
4.3. Algorithm interface specifications and Graphical user interface (GUI) (schedule: T0 + 36 months).
4.4. Optical Interferometry Image Reconstruction Test Report and Cookbooks (schedule: T0 + 48 months).