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Wednesday 16 Mar 2022Reaching faint limiting magnitudes in optical interferometry

Dan Mortimer -

Remote (Zoom) 14:00-15:00

Optical interferometry is an observational technique which allows observations of the night-sky with milliarcsecond resolution by coherently combining the light from telescopes hundreds of meters apart. This is very technically demanding and implementing the various subsystems needed to make it work can come at the cost of instrumental throughput and wavefront quality, ultimately reducing the limiting magnitude of the interferometer.

In this talk I detail the design of the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer (MROI) and in particular its first-generation science beam combiner FOURIER which I designed and built over the course of my PhD. The MROI is a next generation interferometer currently under construction in New Mexico, USA and is built from the ground up to reach faint limiting magnitudes. Current estimates put the limiting magnitude of MROI/FOURIER at H = 13, approximately 4 - 5 magnitudes fainter than many current instruments.

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