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Gravity Collaboration .., Abuter Roberto, Accardo M., Amorim A., Anugu Narsireddy, Avila Gerardo, Azouaoui Nabih , Benisty Myriam, Berger Jean-Philippe, Blind Nicolas, Bonnet H., Bourget P., Brandner W., Brast R., Buron A., Burtscher L., Cassaing Frédéric, Chapron Frédéric, Choquet Élodie, Clénet Yann, Collin Claude, Coudé du Foresto Vincent, De Wit Willem-Jan, De Zeeuw P. T., Deen Casey P., Delplancke-Ströbele F., Dembet Roderick, Derie F., Dexter J., Duvert Gilles, Ebert Monica, Eckart Andreas, Eisenhauer Frank, Esselborn Michael, Fédou Pierre, Finger Gert, García Paulo, Garcia-Dabo C. E., García López R. J., Gendron Éric, Genzel Reinhard, Gillessen S., Gonté Frédéric, Gordo P., Grould Marion, Grözinger Ulrich, Guieu S., Haguenauer P., Hans O., Haubois Xavier, Haug Marcus, Haussmann Frank, Henning Thomas, Hippler Stefan, Horrobin Matthew, Huber Armin, Hubert Zoltan, Hubin Norbert N., Hummel Christian A., Jakob Gerd, Janssen A., Jochum Lieselotte, Jocou L., Kaufer Andreas, Kellner Stefan, Kendrew Sarah, Kern L., Kervella Pierre, Kiekebusch Mario, Klein Ralf, Kok Yitping, Kolb Johann, Kulas Martin, Lacour Sylvestre, Lapeyrere Vincent, Lazareff Bernard, Le Bouquin Jean-Baptiste, Léna Pierre, Lenzen Rainer, Leveque Samuel A., Lippa Magdalena, Magnard Yves, Mehrgan L., Mellein Marcus, Merand Antoine, Moreno-Ventas Javier, Moulin Thibaut, Müller Eric, Müller F., Neumann Udo, Oberti Sylvain, Ott Thomas, Pallanca Laurent, Panduro Johana, Pasquini Luca, Paumard Thibaut, Percheron Isabelle, Perraut Karine, Perrin Guy, Pflüger A., Pfuhl Oliver, Phan Duc Than, Plewa P. M., Popovic D., Rabien Sebastian, Ramírez A., Ramos José Ricardo, Rau C., Riquelme Miguel, Rohloff Ralf-Rainer, Rousset Gérard, Sanchez-Bermudez J., Scheithauer Silvia, Schoeller Markus, Schuhler Nicolas, Spyromilio Jason, Straubmeier Christian, Sturm Eckhard, Suarez Marcos, Tristram Konrad R. W., Ventura N., Vincent Frédéric, Waisberg I., Wank I., Weber J., Wieprecht Ekkehard, Wiest M., Wiezorrek E., Wittkowski Markus, Woillez Julien M., Wolff B., Yazici Senol, Ziegler Denis, Zins Gerard

First light for GRAVITY: Phase referencing optical interferometry for the Very Large Telescope Interferometer

Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2017, vol. 602

Référence DOI : 10.1051/0004-6361/201730838
Référence ADS : 2017A&A...602A..94G

Résumé :

GRAVITY is a new instrument to coherently combine the light of the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope Interferometer to form a telescope with an equivalent 130 m diameter angular resolution and a collecting area of 200 m<SUP>2</SUP>. The instrument comprises fiber fed integrated optics beam combination, high resolution spectroscopy, built-in beam analysis and control, near-infrared wavefront sensing, phase-tracking, dual-beam operation, and laser metrology. GRAVITY opens up to optical/infrared interferometry the techniques of phase referenced imaging and narrow angle astrometry, in many aspects following the concepts of radio interferometry. This article gives an overview of GRAVITY and reports on the performance and the first astronomical observations during commissioning in 2015/16. We demonstrate phase-tracking on stars as faint as m<SUB>K</SUB> ≈ 10 mag, phase-referenced interferometry of objects fainter than m<SUB>K</SUB> ≈ 15 mag with a limiting magnitude of m<SUB>K</SUB> ≈ 17 mag, minute long coherent integrations, a visibility accuracy of better than 0.25%, and spectro-differential phase and closure phase accuracy better than 0.5°, corresponding to a differential astrometric precision of better than ten microarcseconds (muas). The dual-beam astrometry, measuring the phase difference of two objects with laser metrology, is still under commissioning. First observations show residuals as low as 50 muas when following objects over several months. We illustrate the instrument performance with the observations of archetypical objects for the different instrument modes. Examples include the Galactic center supermassive black hole and its fast orbiting star S2 for phase referenced dual-beam observations and infrared wavefront sensing, the high mass X-ray binary BP Cru and the active galactic nucleus of PDS 456 for a few muas spectro-differential astrometry, the T Tauri star S CrA for a spectro-differential visibility analysis, xi Tel and 24 Cap for high accuracy visibility observations, and eta Car for interferometric imaging with GRAVITY.

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