MIDI Overview

MIDI (MID-infrared Interferometric instrument) is the VLTI instrument for N-band (8 to 13 microns) interferometry. It is a two-beam recombiner giving values of moduli of fringe visibility (samples in the (u,v) plane) depending on the wavelength (spectral resolution: R=30 or R=230). The "first fringes" were obtained in December 2002. MIDI has been offered for both service and visitor modes since September 2003.

The main features of MIDI for P80 are:

  • Unit Telescopes (UTs): UT adaptive optics guarantees diffraction-limited image quality on MIDI, for targets brighter than V=17.

  • Auxiliary telescopes (ATs): . Tip-tilt correction for targets brighter than V=13.5.

  • Baselines: please look at the VLTI News webpage to get the list of the UT and AT baselines available for P80.
  • Interference fringes recorded in "dispersed-Fourier" mode (long slow scan). Self-fringe tracking at 1-Hz rate (coherencing).

  • Alternatively, "field/astrometry" mode (no dispersion, fringes on different sources within a narrow field-of-view), in visitor mode only.

  • Spectrograph optics: either NaCl prism (R=30), or KRS5 grism (R=230).

  • Beam combiner: either "HIGH_SENS" (no simultaneous photometric measurement of beams before combination), or "SCI_PHOT" (simultaneous photometric measurement).

  • Limiting correlated magnitudes (flux*visibility):
    TelescopesBeam combinerSpectrographLimit (N mag)Limit (Jy @ 12 μm)

    The requirements for the field/astrometry mode are:

    • UT baselines only.
    • Visitor-mode only.
    • Field-of-view (FOV): 1 to 2 arcsec. The size of the FOV depends on the baseline and on the position in the sky of the target (a FOV calculator tool is in preparation).
    • Scan length: either 40 to 280 microns, 1 mm or 2 mm.
    • One of the sources of a cluster will have to be centered at acquisition on the center of the FOV.
    • Limiting correlated magnitude (to measure correlated flux): 3 Jy.
    • Limiting uncorrelated magnitude (to get normalized visibility by photometry): 5 Jy.

  • Various spectral filters for acquisition images.
Because of the scarce availability of UTs for MIDI, we recommend that any scientific program proposed for an object can be completed in one night. Hence, proposals for binary or variable stars will be rejected. Only objects with "fixed" features over a long-period (6 months) can be observed with MIDI and the UTs. Depending on the scientific interest considered by ESO, the same object may be observed with different baselines at several weeks of interval to get different (u,v) samples. On contrary, ATs are suitable for monitoring of the evolution of the visibility of a target over several weeks.

In any case, time will be allocated as 60-minute slots (1 slot per calibrated visibility point).

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