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  1. High angular resolution observations at optical wavelengths provide valuable insights into stellar astrophysics, and enable direct measurements of fundamental stellar parameters and the probing of stellar atmospheres, circumstellar disks, the elongation of rapidly rotating stars and the pulsations of Cepheid variable stars. The angular size of most stars is of the order of one milliarcsecond or less, and to spatially resolve stellar disks and features at this scale requires an optical interferometer using an array of telescopes with baselines on the order of hundreds of metres. We report on the implementation of a stellar intensity interferometry system developed for the four VERITAS imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes. The system was used to measure the angular diameter of the two sub-milliarcsecond stars β Canis Majoris and ϵ Orionis with a precision of greater than 5%. The system uses an offline approach in which starlight intensity fluctuations that are recorded at each telescope are correlated post observation. The technique can be readily scaled onto tens to hundreds of telescopes, providing a capability that has proven technically challenging to the current generation of optical amplitude interferometry observatories. This work demonstrates the feasibility of performing astrophysical measurements using imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescope arrays as intensitymore »interferometers and shows the promise for integrating an intensity interferometry system within future observatories such as the Cherenkov Telescope Array.« less
  2. Marshall, Heather K. ; Spyromilio, Jason ; Usuda, Tomonori (Ed.)
    The novel 9.7m Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (SCT), utilizing aspheric dual-mirror optical system, has been constructed as a prototype medium size x-ray telescope for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) observatory. The prototype SCT (pSCT) is designed to achieve simultaneously the wide (≥ 8°) field of view and the superior imaging resolution (0.067 per pixel) to significantly improve scientific capabilities of the observatory in conducting the sky surveys, the follow-up observations of multi-messenger transients with poorly known initial localization and the morphology studies of x-ray sources with angular extent. In this submission, we describe the hardware and software implementations of the telescope optical system as well as the methods specifically developed to align its complex optical system, in which both primary and secondary mirrors are segmented. The pSCT has detected Crab Nebula in June 2020 during ongoing commissioning, which was delayed due to worldwide pandemic and is not yet completed. Verification of pSCT performance is continuing and further improvement of optical alignment is anticipated.