5 mai 2017
The direct imaging of extra-solar planets is an important field of today’s astronomy. On one hand, the few photons coming from the planet give informations about the chemical compositions of its atmosphere, hence allowing in a long term for the detection of habitable worlds. On the other hand, building such an instrument on the ground, able to perform such observations is highly challenging. It requires the combination of large telescopes to gather the faint flux of the planet, an extreme performance adaptive optics system to compensate for the turbulence and instrument defects, a coronagraphic system to cancel out the light from the star and finally dedicated post-processing algorithms able to retrieve the planet signal.
The SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research) instrument aims at detecting extremely faint sources (giant extrasolar planets) in the vicinity of bright stars. This instrument has benn delivered to the community since 2015 and already delivered numerous scientific results. We will go through the instrument design and realisation, the final assesment of its performance on sky and a few scientific results.