Using the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer to Look for Exoplanets and Debris Disks

Phil Hinz, University of Arizona

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) is a NASA-funded instrument, designed to carry out a survey of nearby stars for the existence of faint zodiacal dust disks. The survey is named the Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial planetary Systems (HOSTS). These observations will constrain the prevalence and brightness of dust in the habitable zone to reduce risk for future NASA exoplanet imaging missions.

A companion survey, the LBTI Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt (LEECH) will look for wide-period, Jupiter-like planets around the same stars. The LBTI has commissioned modes for LEECH observations to begin, and is in the middle of demonstrating nulling observations needed for the HOSTS program. Hinz will summarize the instrument status, early results and survey plans.

Phil Hinz is the Principal Investigator of the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer, and the Director of the Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics at the University of Arizona. He focuses on instrumentation related to direct imaging of exoplanetary systems.