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Title: MYSTIC: a high angular resolution K-band imager at CHARA
The Michigan Young STar Imager at CHARA (MYSTIC) is a K-band interferometric beam combining instrument funded by the United States National Science Foundation, designed primarily for imaging sub-au scale disk structures around nearby young stars and to probe the planet formation process. Installed at the CHARA array in July 2021, with baselines up to 331 meters, MYSTIC provides a maximum angular resolution of λ/2B ∼ 0.7 mas. The instrument injects phase corrected light from the array into inexpensive, single-mode, polarization maintaining silica fibers, which are then passed via a vacuum feedthrough into a cryogenic dewar operating at 220 K for imaging. MYSTIC utilizes a high frame rate, ultra-low read noise SAPHIRA detector, and implements two beam combiners: a 6-telescope image plane beam combiner, based on the MIRC-X design, for targets as faint as 7.7 Kmag, as well as a 4-telescope integrated optic beam-combiner mode using a spare chip leftover from the GRAVITY instrument. MYSTIC is co-phased with the MIRC-X (J+H band) instrument for simultaneous fringe-tracking and imaging, and shares its software suite with the latter to allow a single observer to operate both instruments. Herein, we present the instrument design, review its operational performance, present early commissioning science observations, and propose upgrades to the instrument that could improve its K-band sensitivity to 10th magnitude in the near future.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1506540 1909165
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Mérand, Antoine; Sallum, Stephanie; Sanchez-Bermudez, Joel
Date Published:
Journal Name:
SPIE Astronomical Instrumentation
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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