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ELT Imaging of Protoplanetary Disks and, Eventually, Protoplanets

Presentation #1203 in the session “Open Engagement Session C”.

Published onMar 17, 2021
ELT Imaging of Protoplanetary Disks and, Eventually, Protoplanets

Imaging young or still-forming planets with masses and orbital characteristics like the giant planets in our solar system requires extremely large telescopes (ELTs). The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) provides the resolution of a 23-m telescope, and can be used now to provide ELT-scale observations of bright protoplanetary disks. We employ the technique of non-redundant masking interferometry, along with the adaptive optics and co-phasing systems, to achieve diffraction-limited imaging with this large telescope. Co-phased LBTI operation is currently only possible for bright targets, and we have therefore observed bright protoplanetary disks to date. After presenting the images we have obtained and discussing the scientific implications of these data, I will describe our current work to enhance the LBTI sensitivity, and future plans to extend these ELT imaging observations to planets that are still forming in young protoplanetary disk systems. Such observations can image protoplanets orbiting within 5 AU of young stars, probing parameter space where we see giant planets in our solar system and expect giant planet formation in typical young systems.


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