PSF reconstruction for NICI, the high-contrast coronagraphic imager of GEMINI observatory


M. Hartung (1), D. Gratadour (2), M. Chun (3), A. Kellerer (3), L. Jolissaint (4), J. Christou (1), T. Hayward (1)


(1) Gemini Observatory, (2) Observatoire Paris-Meudon, (3) Institute for Astronomy, Hawaii, USA, (4) aquilAOptics, Switzerland


It is more than a decade ago that PSF reconstruction from wavefront sensor (WFS) data has been described by Veran et al. (JOSA A, 1997) and successfully demonstrated at CFHT/PUEO. Nevertheless, even though adaptive optics (AO) has evolved into a mature technology, no breakthrough has been reached yet in terms of a broad use of WFS estimated PSFs in astronomical image data reduction. Reasons for this are certainly the lack of easy access to the needed AO data as well as the automatic supply of reconstructed PSFs along with the science exposures to eventually give the astronomical community a chance to exploit its potential. The key information are the covariance matrices of the WFS signal and the DM voltages in sync with the science exposures. Without active interaction from the user side with the observatory, we intend to automatically provide the user with these AO data together with the retrieved PSF for every taken science exposure.

Typical applications for a WFS retrieved PSF are photometry and image sharpening by deconvolution. For the high-contrast imager NICI, the reconstructed PSF will be of particular use providing a fixed reference point to derive planet detection contrast curves completely in sync with the science exposure. We will compare how well the WFS estimated PSF matches the science image PSF at various AO guide stars, and will study the impact of system modeling errors.