GENIE: a Ground-Based European Nulling Instrument at ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer

Gondoin, P.; Hartog, R. den; Fridlund, M.; Fabry, P.; Stankov, A.; Peacock, A.; Volonte, S.; Puech, F.; Delplancke, F.; Gitton, P.; Glindemann, A.; Paresce, F.; Richichi, A.; Barillot, M.; Absil, O.; Cassaing, F.; Coudédu Foresto, V.; Kervella, P.; Perrin, G.; Ruilier, C.; Flatscher, R.; Bokhove, H.; Ergenzinger, K.; Quirrenbach, A.; Wallner, O.; Alves, J.; Herbst, T.; Mourard, D.; Neuhäuser, R.; Ségransan, D.; Waters, R. and White, G. J. (2008). GENIE: a Ground-Based European Nulling Instrument at ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer. In: Richichi, A.; Delplancke, F.; Paresce, F. and Chelli, A. eds. The Power of Optical/IR Interferometry: Recent Scientific Results and 2nd Generation Instrumentation. ESO Astrophysics Symposia. Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany: Springer, pp. 445–456.



Darwin is one of the most challenging space projects ever considered by the European Space Agency (ESA). Its principal objectives are to detect Earth-like planets around nearby stars, to analyze the composition of their atmospheres and to assess their ability to sustain life as we know it. Darwin is conceived as a space “nulling interferometer” which makes use of on-axis destructive interferences to extinguish the stellar light while keeping the off-axis signal of the orbiting planet. Within the frame of the Darwin program, definition studies of a Ground based European Nulling Interferometry Experiment, called GENIE, were completed in 2005. This instrument built around the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) in Paranal will test some of the key technologies required for the Darwin Infrared Space Interferometer. GENIE will operate in the L’ band around 3.8 microns as a single Bracewell nulling interferometer using either two Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) or two 8m Unit Telescopes (UTs). Its science objectives include the detection and characterization of dust disks and low-mass companions around nearby stars.

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