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- Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VIII
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- National Science Foundation
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Mérand, Antoine ; Sallum, Stephanie ; Sanchez-Bermudez, Joel (Ed.)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
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Context. T Tauri stars are low-mass young stars whose disks provide the setting for planet formation. Despite this, their structure is poorly understood. We present new infrared interferometric observations of the SU Aurigae circumstellar environment that offer resolution that is three times higher and a better baseline position angle coverage than previous observations. Aims. We aim to investigate the characteristics of the circumstellar material around SU Aur, constrain the disk geometry, composition and inner dust rim structure. Methods. The CHARA array offers unique opportunities for long baseline observations, with baselines up to 331 m. Using the CLIMB three-telescope combiner in the K -band allows us to measure visibilities as well as closure phase. We undertook image reconstruction for model-independent analysis, and fitted geometric models such as Gaussian and ring distributions. Additionally, the fitting of radiative transfer models constrain the physical parameters of the disk. For the first time, a dusty disk wind is introduced to the radiative transfer code TORUS to model protoplanetary disks. Our implementation is motivated by theoretical models of dusty disk winds, where magnetic field lines drive dust above the disk plane close to the sublimation zone. Results. Image reconstruction reveals an inclined disk with slight asymmetry along its minor-axis, likely due to inclination effects obscuring the inner disk rim through absorption of incident star light on the near-side and thermal re-emission and scattering of the far-side. Geometric modelling of a skewed ring finds the inner rim at 0.17 ± 0.02 au with an inclination of 50.9 ± 1.0° and minor axis position angle 60.8 ± 1.2°. Radiative transfer modelling shows a flared disk with an inner radius at 0.18 au which implies a grain size of 0.4 μ m assuming astronomical silicates and a scale height of 15.0 at 100 au. Among the tested radiative transfer models, only the dusty disk wind successfully accounts for the K -band excess by introducing dust above the mid-plane.more » « less
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To accurately characterize the planets a star may be hosting, stellar parameters must first be well determined.
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