VLTI images of circumbinary disks around evolved stars
Paper in proceeding, 2020

The new generation of VLTI instruments (GRAVITY, MATISSE) aims to produce routinely interferometric images to uncover the morphological complexity of different objects at high angular resolution. Image reconstruction is, however, not a fully automated process. Here we focus on a specific science case, namely the complex circumbinary environments of a subset of evolved binaries, for which interferometric imaging provides the spatial resolution required to resolve the immediate circumbinary environment. Indeed, many binaries where the main star is in the post-asymptotic giant branch (post-AGB) phase are surrounded by circumbinary disks. Those disks were first inferred from the infrared excess produced by dust. Snapshot interferometric observations in the infrared confirmed disk-like morphology and revealed high spatial complexity of the emission that the use of geometrical models could not recover without being strongly biased. Arguably, the most convincing proof of the disk-like shape of the circumbinary environment came from the first interferometric image of such a system (IRAS08544-4431) using the PIONIER instrument at the VLTI. This image was obtained using the SPARCO image reconstruction approach that enables to subtract a model of a component of the image and reconstruct an image of its environment only. In the case of IRAS08544-4431, the model involved a binary and the image of the remaining signal revealed several unexpected features. Then, a second image revealed a different but also complex circumstellar morphology around HD101584 that was well studied by ALMA. To exploit the VLTI imaging capability to understand these targets, we started a large programme at the VLTI to image post-AGB binary systems using both PIONIER and GRAVITY instruments.




Image reconstruction

Infrared interferometry


J. Kluska

KU Leuven

Rik Claes

KU Leuven

Akke Corporaal

KU Leuven

H. van Winckel

KU Leuven

J. Alcolea

Spanish National Observatory (OAN)

Narsireddy Anugu

University of Arizona

J. P. Berger

Institut de Planetologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble

Dylan Bollen

KU Leuven

V. Bujarrabal

Spanish National Observatory (OAN)

Robert Izzard

University of Surrey

Devika Kamath

Macquarie University

S. Kraus

University of Exeter

J. B. Le Bouquin

Institut de Planetologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble

M. Min

Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON)

John D. Monnier

University of Michigan

Hans Olofsson

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Astronomy and Plasmaphysics

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering

0277786X (ISSN) 1996756X (eISSN)

Vol. 11446 114460D
9781510636798 (ISBN)

Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VII 2020
Online, USA,

Subject Categories

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Computer Vision and Robotics (Autonomous Systems)

Medical Image Processing



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