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In a recent Astrophysical Journal publication a team, led by Chris Stark of the Univ. of Maryland, releases new observations made with the Keck Interferometer. These observations, collected in the nulling mode were combined with visibility and Spitzer IRS data to model the debris disk around 51 Ophiuchus. The best fit model is consistent with an inner "birth" disk of continually colliding parent bodies producing an extended envelope of ejected small grains and is similar to the disk around β Pictoris. These observations were collected using NASA Keck telescope time administered by NExScI, and were funded by a Keck PI Data Award. Read the article here.
NExScI announces the release of version 2.0 of the Visibility Modeling Tool.
Supported by the W. M. Keck Observatory Principal Investigator's Fund and NASA's Origins of Solar System program, Prof. William Herbst (Wesleyan University) and his team observed the early formation of an earth-like planet. The discovery, highlighted in the March 13, 2008 issue of Nature, used observations from the Keck telescopes taken over several years. More...
First results from a new NASA-funded scientific instrument at the W. M. Keck Observatory at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, are helping scientists overturn long-standing assumptions about powerful explosions called novae and have produced specific information about one nearby nova. Click here for the press release.
The 2008-2009 IPAC Newsletter is available with news of NExScI and the wider world of IPAC.
Three teams have been selected to conduct shared risk Key Science projects on exo-zodiacal emission around main sequence stars using the Keck Interferometer. More...
The Keck Interferometer has made the first infrared interferometry observations of an object outside our galaxy. Observations of the Seyfert galaxy NGC 4151 are discussed in a ApJL paper and find that the majority of the 2 micron emission arises from a region less than 0.1 parsec across.
The first science results from the Keck Interferometer, observations of the young stellar object DG Tau, have been announced. The team of authors, including members of the MSC, found a resolved component with a radius of 0.12 to 0.24 AU, depending on the stellar properties.
Scientists at the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer (NPOI) at Anderson Mesa (near Flagstaff) Az have recently demonstrated the first six-way optical interferometric beam combination, and used this capability to synthesize an image of the triple stellar system Eta Virginis (HD 107259). Details of and results from this important accomplishment can be found in the Navy's public announcement page.
On 23 February 2002, a team at the Infrared Optical Telescope Array (IOTA) interferometer at Mt. Hopkins (near Tucson) Az demonstrated three-way beam combination on the variable star Alpha Lyncis (HD 80493). A description of the measurements is available on the IOTA webpage.
NASA has selected four external teams to collaborate with the Keck Interferometer (KI) Development Team in KI commissioning science: PI's Danchi, Kulkarni, Monnier, Traub lead the external teams collaborating with the KI development team on KI commissioning science. Shared-risk science observation operations commenced in June, and were continued in October and November. Click here for more KI news.
The Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) Development Team obtained first fringes with a pair of small telescopes and the VINCI fiber beam combiner, followed closely by pairwise fringes using all four 8.2-m Unit Telescopes (UTs). More details on initial fringes can be found at the official first-fringe announcement from ESO and the first UT-fringe announcement.