Betelgeuse has gone through a sudden shift in its brightness and dimmed mysteriously. This is likely caused by a hot blob of plasma ejected from Betelgeuse and then cooled to obscuring dust. If true, it is a remarkable opportunity to directly witness the formation of dust around a red supergiant star. Today’s optical telescope facilities are not optimized for time-evolution monitoring of the Betelgeuse surface, so in this work, we propose a low-cost optical interferometer. The facility will consist of 12 × 4 inch optical telescopes mounted on the surface of a large radio dish for interferometric imaging; polarization-maintaining single-mode fibers will carry the coherent beams from the individual optical telescopes to an all-in-one beam combiner. A fast steering mirror assisted fiber injection system guides the flux into fibers. A metrology system senses vibration-induced piston errors in optical fibers, and these errors are corrected using fast-steering delay lines. We will present the design.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Oct 8 2020|
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