PHAT Camp, day four; optical interferometry

Foreman-Mackey and I worked out the differences between, as it were, the Bovy view of the world and the Foreman-Mackey view of the world (well, the world of variable-rate Poisson processes subject to censoring). Of course the two views are mathematically identical in the end!

As work continued in PHAT land, I escaped for an hour to see an outrageous talk by Andy Skemer (Arizona) on high-resolution imaging with the LBT. He showed an absolutely beautiful interferometric image at four microns of a star made with the LMIRcam interferometer. It looked like what we see in textbooks! He also showed a video of the image over time, showing that the phase difference between the telescope's two mirrors varies stochastically with time, probably because of atmospheric variations. Foreman-Mackey and I discussed whether we could model these data—the individual-telescope AO PSF is so stable, the different images have only one degree of freedom, which is the unknown phase difference between mirrors. That's a one-parameter family of PSFs and 0.04 arcsec resolution in the good direction.

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