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Diffraction-Limited Imaging on the 200-Inch Telescope


Nakajima, Tadashi (1989) Diffraction-Limited Imaging on the 200-Inch Telescope. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/hgnx-x451.


We have used the technique of non-redundant masking at the Palomar 200-inch telescope and radio VLBI imaging software to make optical aperture synthesis maps of two binary stars, β Corona Borealis and σ Herculis. The dynamic range of the map of β CrB, a binary star with a separation of 230 milliarcseconds is 50:1. For σ Her, we find a separation of 70 milliarcseconds and the dynamic range of our image is 30:1. These demonstrate the potential of the non-redundant masking technique for diffraction-limited imaging of astronomical objects with high dynamic range.

We find that the optimal integration time for measuring the closure phase is longer than that for measuring the fringe amplitude. There is not a close relationship between amplitude errors and phase errors, as is found in radio interferometry. Amplitude self calibration is less effective at optical wavelengths than at radio wavelengths. Primary beam sensitivity correction made in radio aperture synthesis is not necessary in optical aperture synthesis.

The effects of atmospheric disturbances on optical aperture synthesis have been studied by Monte Carlo simulations based on the Kolmogorov theory of refractive-index fluctuations. For the non-redundant masking with τc-sized apertures, the simulated fringe amplitude gives an upper bound of the observed fringe amplitude. A smooth transition is seen from the non-redundant masking regime to the speckle regime with increasing aperture size. The fractional reduction of the fringe amplitude according to the bandwidth is nearly independent of the aperture size. The limiting magnitude of optical aperture synthesis with τc-sized apertures and that with apertures larger than τc are derived.

Monte Carlo simulations are also made to study the sensitivity and resolution of the bispectral analysis of speckle interferometry. We present the bispectral modulation transfer function and its signal-to-noise ratio at high light levels. The results confirm the validity of the heuristic interferometric view of image-forming process in the mid-spatial-frequency range. The signal-to-noise ratio of the bispectrum at arbitrary light levels is derived in the mid-spatial-frequency range.

The non-redundant masking technique is suitable for imaging bright objects with high resolution and high dynamic range, while the faintest limit will be better pursued by speckle imaging.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Neugebauer, Gerry
Thesis Committee:
  • Neugebauer, Gerry (chair)
  • Frautschi, Steven C.
  • Kulkarni, Shrinivas R.
  • Readhead, Anthony C. S.
  • Thorne, Kip S.
Defense Date:23 May 1989
Funding AgencyGrant Number
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Schlumberger FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06032013-115455313
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7823
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:03 Jun 2013 20:48
Last Modified:05 Nov 2021 23:00

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