Direct detection of exoplanets and circumstellar disks using NaCo APP and NaCo PDI


Sascha P. Quanz (1) Michael R. Meyer (1) Matthew Kenworthy (2) Markus Kasper (3) Rainer Lenzen (4) Julien Girard (3) Phil Hinz (4) Kerstin Geissler (5) Wolfgang Brander (6) Thomas Henning (6) Sebastian Wolf (7)


(1) ETH Zurich; (2) Leiden Observatory; (3) ESO; (4) Steward Observatory, AZ; (5) Stony Brook, NY; (6) MPIA; (7) University of Kiel;


The direct detection of faint objects close to a bright star (such as circumstellar disks or exoplanets) is observationally challenging as it requires both, high spatial resolution and high contrast. However, it is exactly these resolved images that boost our understanding of the nature and underlying physics of the corresponding objects. In this talk we will present new results obtained with the versatile NaCo instrument at the VLT.

In the first part, we report on recent observations with the newly installed apodizing phase plate (APP) coronagraph aiming at the direct detection of exoplanets at 4 micron. We confirm the detection of beta Pic b and add additional information to the orbit and atmospheric properties of the planet. Additional ongoing studies are briefly discussed.

In the second part, we present the results from a mini-survey to resolve circumstellar disks using polarimetric differential imaging (PDI) in the near infrared. Among other targets we show resolved images of the prominent circumstellar disk around the young Herbig Be star HD100546. The images reveal the disk at unprecedented inner working angles. Having polarimetric information in different filters allows us to put constraints on dust grain properties and disk geometry in previously unaccessible disk regions.

In addition to their scientific merit, the studies mentioned above will demonstrate the benefits - but also the limitations - of both techniques (APP and PDI). This will help to better determine their potential role in high contrast imaging with future facilities such as VLT/SPHERE and E-ELT.

Attached documents

Lyot2010proc s2 talk QuanzS.pdf
PDF, 2.2 Mb