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MATISSE, the VLTI mid-infrared imaging spectro-interferometer

B. Lopez 1, 2, * S. Lagarde 2 R. G. Petrov 2 W. Jaffe 3 P. Antonelli 2 F. Allouche 4 P. Berio 5 A. Matter 2 A. Meilland 5 F. Millour 5 S. Robbe-Dubois 5 Th. Henning 6 G. Weigelt 7 A. Glindemann 8 T. Agocs 9 Ch. Bailet 2 U. Beckmann 7 F. Bettonvil 3 R. van Boekel 6 P. Bourget 10 y. Bresson 2 P. Bristow 8 P. Cruzalèbes 5 E. Eldswijk 9 y. Fanteï Caujolle 2 J. C. González Herrera 8 U. Graser 6 P. Guajardo 10 M. Heininger 7 K.-H. Hofmann 7 G. Kroes 9 W. Laun 6 M. Lehmitz 6 C. Leinert 6 K. Meisenheimer 6 S. Morel 2 U. Neumann 6 C. Paladini 10 I. Percheron 8 M. Riquelme 10 M. Schoeller 10 Ph. Stee 5 L. Venema 9 J. Woillez 8 G. Zins 8 P. Ábrahám 11 S. Abadie 10 R. Abuter 8 M. Accardo 8 T. Adler 6 J. Alonso 10 J.-C. Augereau 12 A. Böhm 6 G. Bazin 8 J. Beltran 10 A. Bensberg 13 W. Boland 14 R. Brast 8 L. Burtscher 15 R. Castillo 10 A. Chelli 12 C. Cid 10 J.-M. Clausse 5 C. Connot 7 R. D. Conzelmann 8 W.-C. Danchi 16 M. Delbo 2 J. Drevon 1, 2 C. Dominik 17 A. van Duin 9 M. Ebert 6 F. Eisenhauer 18 S. Flament 19 R. Frahm 8 V. Gámez Rosas 14 A. Gabasch 8 A. Gallenne 20 E. Garces 10 P. Girard 21 A. Glazenborg 9 F. y. J. Gonté 10 F. Guitton 5 M. de Haan 9 H. Hanenburg 9 X. Haubois 10 V. Hocdé 22 M. Hogerheijde 14 R. ter Horst 9 J. Hron 14 C. A. Hummel 8 N. Hubin 8 R. Huerta 10 J. Idserda 9 J. W. Isbell 6 D. Ives 8 G. Jakob 8 A. Jaskó 9 L. Jochum 10 L. Klarmann 6 R. Klein 6 J. Kragt 9 S. Kuindersma 9 E. Kokoulina 1 L. Labadie 23 S. Lacour 24 J. Leftley 1 R. Le Poole 14 J.-L. Lizon 8 M. Lopez 25 F. Lykou 26 A. Mérand 8 A. Marcotto 2 N. Mauclert 2 T. Maurer 27 L. H. Mehrgan 8 J. Meisner 14 K. Meixner 6 M. Mellein 6 Jean-Luc Menut 28 L. Mohr 6 L. Mosoni 29 R. Navarro 9 E. Nussbaum 7 L. Pallanca 10 E. Pantin 30 L. Pasquini 31 T. Phan Duc 8 J.-U. Pott 6 E. Pozna 8 A. Richichi 6 A. Ridinger 6 F. Rigal 32 Th. Rivinius 10 R. Roelfsema 9 R.-R. Rohloff 6 S. Rousseau 33 D. Salabert 2 D. Schertl 7 N. Schuhler 10 M. Schuil 9 K. Shabun 8 A. Soulain 12 C. Stephan P. Toledo 10 K. Tristram 10 N. Tromp 9 F. Vakili 5 J. Varga 26, 15 J. Vinther 8 L. B. F. M. Waters 34 M. Wittkowski 10 S. Wolf 13 F. Wrhel 6 G. yoffe 14 
* Corresponding author
Abstract : Context. Optical interferometry is at a key development stage. The Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has established a stable, robust infrastructure for long-baseline interferometry that is usable by general astronomical observers. The present second-generation instruments offer a wide wavelength coverage and improved performance. Their sensitivity and measurement accuracy lead to data and images of high reliability.Aims. We have developed the Multi AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment (MATISSE) to access, for the first time, high resolution imaging in a wide spectral domain. Many front-line topics are explored with this new equipment, including: stellar activity and mass loss; planet formation and evolution in the gas and dust disks around young stars; and environment interaction and accretion processes around super massive black holes in active galactic nuclei.Methods. The instrument is a spectro-interferometric imager in the transmission windows called L, M, and N, from 2.8 to 13.0 microns, combining four optical beams from the VLTI’s unit or auxiliary telescopes. Its concept, related observing procedure, data reduction, and calibration approach, is the product of 30 years of instrumental research and has benefitted from the expertise developed in the frame of the VLTI’s first generation instruments. The instrument utilises a multi-axial beam combination that delivers spectrally dispersed fringes. The signal provides the following quantities at several spectral resolutions: photometric flux, coherent fluxes, visibilities, closure phases, wavelength differential visibilities and phases, and aperture-synthesis imaging.Results. This article provides an overview of the physical principle of the instrument and its functionalities. The motivation of the choice of the instrumental concept and the characteristics of the delivered signal are detailed with a description of the observing modes and of their performance limit. MATISSE offers four spectral resolutions in L&M bands, namely 30, 500, 1000 and 3400, and 30 and 220 in the N band, and it provides an angular resolution down to 3 mas for the shortest wavelengths. The MATISSE stand-alone sensitivity limits are 60 mJy in L and 300 mJy in N. The paper gives details of the sensitivity limits for the different measurables and their related precision criteria, considering telescope configurations and spectral resolutions. We also discuss the gain provided with the GRA4MAT fringe tracker. An ensemble of data and reconstructed images illustrate the first acquired key observations.Conclusions. The instrument has been in operation at Cerro Paranal, ESO, Chile, since 2018, and has been open for science use by the international community since April 2019. The first scientific results are being published now.
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Submitted on : Monday, March 28, 2022 - 9:43:13 PM
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B. Lopez, S. Lagarde, R. G. Petrov, W. Jaffe, P. Antonelli, et al.. MATISSE, the VLTI mid-infrared imaging spectro-interferometer. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2022, 659, pp.A192. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202141785⟩. ⟨hal-03622287⟩



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