OPTICON FP7 (2013-2016) WP4 - Image reconstruction in optical interferometry

WP leader: Eric Thiebaut (CNRS)

Optical Interferometry provides an important complement to the other large telescope projects in Europe over the next 10 years: its ten times higher angular resolution (compared to the more sensitive E-ELT and JWST) and its different wavelength (with respect to ALMA) provide a unique astronomical tool to peer into the innermost regions of planets, stars and black hole formation. The linear scales resolved by optical interferometry offer for the first time the possibility to directly image transient astrophysical processes, like the formation and destruction of circumstellar material during planet formation as well as motion under the gravitational pull of a supermassive black hole.

We have already initiated the development of software tools to prepare interferometric observations and to process interferometric data in an end to end way from calibration to model fitting. These tools have been continuously improved by the community and have encouraged more astronomers to make use of interferometric observations. We now need to go a step further as the ability to reconstruct images is essential to exploit the very high angular resolution provided by next generation multi-telescope instruments such as Matisse, Gravity and Pionier at Europe’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), LINC-Nirvana at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) or Vega at the CHARA interferometer.

Image reconstruction algorithms from interferometric and variable point spread function (PSF) data are now mature but they remain difficult for non-specialists to use and do not exploit all the capabilities of the new instruments (notably hyper-spectral imaging). This work package will provide user-friendly image reconstruction algorithms to make the high angular resolution imaging possible with today’s interferometers within the reach of the whole community.

Visit the European Interferometry Initiative (Eii) website here