Astronomical Observations by Speckle Interferometry.
Final rept. 1 Jun 81-28 Feb 86,
GEORGIA STATE UNIV ATLANTA DEPT OF PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY
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Speckle interferometry is a method permitting the extraction of spatial information from two dimensional images at scales down to the diffraction limit of the telescope in spite of severe blurring introduced by atmospheric turbulence. With existing large telescopes, speckle techniques thus permit resolution at spatial scales of 0.025 arcseconds rather than the 1 to 2 arcseconds associated with classical techniques. These methods are also characterized by enhanced measurement accuracy of the separation of closely spaced objects seen through the turbulent atmosphere. The speckle interferometry system incorporates an intensified charge coupled device array as the primary imaging detector and a hardwired autocorrelator as a high speed data reduction processor operating at video rates. The analysis of the reduced data is carried out using a digital image processing system. The goals of these programs include the detection of planetary mass objects in orbit about one component of a widely separated binary star system through the measurement of submotions in the otherwise elliptical motion of binary stars the observation of asteroids with the goal of definitely answering the question of the duplicity of these primordial members of the solar system the resolution of suspected structure in the nuclei of active galaxies and quasars the reconstruction of truly diffraction limited images of a variety of astronomical objects and, the generation of data applicable to a better understanding of the characteristics of atmospheric turbulence and its effects on high resolution imaging.