Polarimetry of extra-solar planets and circumstellar disks with ZIMPOL / SPHERE


H.M. Schmid, J.L. Beuzit, D. Mouillet, R. Waters, E. Buenzli, A. Boccaletti, K. Dohlen, M. Feldt, et al. (SPHERE consortium)


ETH Zurich, LAOG Grenoble, University of Amsterdam, LESIA, LAM, MPIA Heidelberg, et al.,


The future SPHERE VLT planet finder instrument includes a high precision polarimeter (ZIMPOL) for the search and characterization of reflected and therefore polarized light from extra-solar planetary systems. We discuss first the expected polarization properties of extra-solar planets and circumstellar disks and the diagnostic potential of polarimetric observations. Then we describe what can be achieved by combining in SPHERE / VLT an 8m telescope, an extreme AO system, coronagraphy, and high precision polarimetry. Performance simulations show that a contrast of 10e-8 should be reachable with this instrument. With this sensitivity giant planets around the nearest stars could be detected in reflected light and the structure from many circumstellar disk can be mapped with a spatial resolution of up to 15 milli-arcsec.

Attached documents

Lyot2010proc s7 talk SchmidHM.pdf
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