Sub-Airy disk angular resolution with high dynamic range in the near-infrared
European Southern Observatory,Karl-Schwarzschildstr. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
Lunar occultations (LO) are a simple and effective high angular resolution method, with minimum requirements in instrumentation and telescope time. They rely on the analysis of the diffraction fringes created by the lunar limb. The diffraction phenomen occurs in space, and as a result LO are highly insensitive to most of the degrading effects that limit the performance of traditional single telescope and long-baseline interferometric techniques used for direct detection of faint, close companions to bright stars. We present very recent results obtained with the technique of lunar occultations in the near-IR, showing the detection of companions with very high dynamic range as close as few milliarcseconds to the primary star. We discuss the potential improvements that could be made, to increase further the current performance. Of course, LO are fixed-time events applicable only to sources which happen to lie on the Moon’s apparent orbit. However, with the continuously increasing numbers of potential exoplanets and brown dwarfs beign discovered, the frequency of such events is not negligible. I will list some of the most favorable potential LO in the near future, to be observed from major observatories.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2011