MIRC-X 6-telescope Imager Resources
The MIRC-X beam combiner at the CHARA array combines the light from all six telescopes simultaneously. It has been build as part of the ERC project "ImagePlanetFormDiscs" and as collaboration between the University of Exeter (UK) and the University of Michigan (USA).
MIRC-X disperses light across several spectral channels and operates in the near infrared J and H-bands. It can be used to create images of stellar surfaces and circumstellar emission. The precision closure phases are well suited to detecting faint binary companions.
MIRC-X injects the light from each telescope into optical fibers for spatial filtering. The fiber outputs from the six beams are arranged in a linear non-redundant pattern to spatially encode the fringes from each pair of telescopes. The combined light passes through a spectrograph and is imaged onto the detector.
The low-resolution H-band mode (prism R=50) with 8 spectral channels is fully commissioned. The high-resolution H-band mode (grism R=190) is available with approval from the instrument team. The beam combiner is equipped with an ultra-low read-noise detector system. The simultaneous J+H mode has been commissioned and will soon be offered to the community.
The instrument is available to astronomers world-wide as part of the NOAO open-time calls that are issued twice per year.
Users might find the following resources useful:
The following papers outline the optical design that MIRC-X is based on, as well as its science drivers and operational aspects:
(1) Anugu et al. 2020, AJ 160, 158: "MIRC-X: a highly-sensitive six telescope interferometric imager at the CHARA Array"
(2) Kraus et al. 2018, SPIE 10701: "The MIRC-X 6-telescope imager: key science drivers, instrument design and operation"
(3) Monnier et al. 2004, SPIE 5491: "The Michigan Infrared Combiner (MIRC): IR imaging with the CHARA Array"