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News from the CHARA Array

Presentation #107.05 in the session Vis-IR Facilities and Instruments.

Published onJun 29, 2022
News from the CHARA Array

The Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) Array is a six-element, optical/NIR interferometer with baselines ranging from 31 to 331 m. The Array is operated by Georgia State University and is located at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California. The Array is undergoing a significant renewal in instrumentation. Twelve adaptive optics systems are now in place with one in the dome and one in the lab for each telescope and beam. The OPLE delay lines have a new electronic control system. Three new beam combiners are now under construction or complete. MYSTIC is a 6-telescope combiner for K-band that works in concert with the existing MIRC-X combiner in H-band. The SPICA 6-telescope combiner will record fringes in the optical R-band with modest spectral resolution, and it will serve as a survey instrument. The SILMARIL combiner is a 3-telescope instrument for H- and K-bands that is designed for very high sensitivity on fainter targets. Plans are underway to add a seventh, portable telescope to the Array that will use fiber optics for beam transport. This telescope will increase the spatial dynamic range of the Array with baselines up to 1 km. A significant fraction of the observing time is now available to the community through funding from the NSF. These programs are solicited and peer-reviewed by NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory.

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