EAS Publications Series
Volume 59, 2013New Concepts in Imaging: Optical and Statistical Models
|Page(s)||5 - 23|
|Section||Physical Bases and New Challenges in High Resolution Imaging|
|Published online||13 March 2013|
D. Mary, C. Theys and C. Aime (eds)
EAS Publications Series, 59 (2013) 5-23
Hypertelescopes: The Challenge of Direct Imaging at High Resolution
Collège de France and Observatoire de la Côte
Sparse optical interferometric arrays of many apertures can produce direct images in the densified-pupil mode, also called “hypertelescope” mode. Pending the introduction of adaptive optics for cophasing, indirect images can also be reconstructed with speckle imaging techniques. But adaptive phasing is preferable, when a sufficiently bright guide star is available. Several wave sensing techniques, by-products of those used on monolithic telescopes for some of them, are potentially usable. For cophased direct images of very faint sources in the absence of a natural guide star, a modified form of the Laser Guide Star techniques demonstrated on conventional and segmented telescopes is described. Preliminary testing in laboratory suggests further investigation. Recorded images, assumed co-phased, are also improvable post-detection with optical aperture-synthesis techniques such as Earth rotation synthesis, where data from successive exposures are combined incoherently. Nevertheless, the gain becomes modest if hundreds of sub-apertures are used. Image deconvolution techniques are also applicable, if suitably modified as demonstrated by Aime et al. (2012), and Mary (2012). Their modified deconvolution algorithms can extend the Direct Imaging Field (also called Clean Field) of hypertelescopes. More sub-apertures at given collecting area, implying that their size is reduced, improve the direct-imaging performance. The predictable trend thus favors systems combining hundreds of sub-apertures of modest size, if workable designs can be evolved. One such design, the “Ubaye Hypertelescope” entering the initial testing phase in the southern Alps, has a fixed spherical meta-mirror with a 57 m effective aperture, expandable to 200 m. Preliminary results suggest that larger versions, whether spherical or active paraboloidal, can reach a kilometric aperture size at terrestrial sites having a suitable concave topography. In space, hypertelescope meta-apertures spanning up to 100 000 km are in principle feasible in the form of a flotilla of mirrors, driven by micro-thrusters or by the radiation pressure of the Sun or lasers.
© EAS, EDP Sciences 2013
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