EPICS: XAO coronagraphic imaging of exoplanets with the E-ELT
Markus Kasper, Raffaele Gratton, Christophe Verinaud, Silvano Desidera, Mariangela Bonavita, Dino Mesa, Elena Carolo and the EPICS consortium
ESO, Padova Observatory, IPAG, University of Toronto, ...
Presently, dedicated instruments at large telescopes (SPHERE for the VLT, GPI for Gemini) are about to discover and explore self-luminous giant planets by direct imaging and spectroscopy. The next generation of 30m-40m ground-based telescopes, the Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs), have the potential to dramatically enlarge the discovery space towards older giant planets seen in reflected light and ultimately even a small number of rocky planets. EPICS is a proposed instrument for the European ELT, dedicated to the detection and characterization of Exoplanets by direct imaging, spectroscopy and polarimetry. ESO completed a phase-A study for EPICS with a large European consortium which - by simulations and demonstration experiments - investigated state-of-the-art diffraction and speckle suppression techniques to deliver highest contrasts. This contribution presents the instrument concept and analysis as well as its main innovations and science capabilities. In particular we’ll investigate the impact of telescope diameter, and present XAO and speckle nulling results obtained in lab as well as the R&D plan.