Observing Young Stellar Objects with Very Large Telescope Interferometer

F. Malbet

Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, Unité mixte de recherche 5571 CNRS/Université J. Fourier, BP 53, F-38041 Grenoble cedex 9, France [email protected]

Abstract. One of the techniques used to probe the formation of stars and planets, is optical long baseline interferometry. This technique offers milli-arcsecond spatial resolution. The Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has been built to offer this new observational facility to any astronomer. In this review, I detail the specificity of high angular resolution observations in the field of stellar and planetary formation. I present a short introduction to interferometry, followed by an extensive presentation of the VLTI. Finally I give some advice to those who would like to use the instruments of the VLTI.

F. Malbet: Observing Young Stellar Objects with Very Large Telescope Interferometer, Lect. Notes Phys. 742, 241-255 (2008)

DOI 10.1007/978-3-540-68032-1.11 (c) Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

It has always been a human dream to possess extraordinary powers. In two fairy tales, Sechse kommen durch die ganze Welt1 and Die sechs Diener2, the brothers J. and W. Grimm wrote stories of a group of men who have special powers and who go through life in the world. One of them has a sharp vision which allows him to see a ring sticking on a pointed stone in the depth of the Red Sea. In astronomy, and especially in the field of stars and planet formation, astronomers have the same dreams: to probe the very close environment of young stars where they believe planets form and jets are launched. The Hubble Space Telescope and the 10-m class telescopes equipped with adaptive optics allow the astronomical community to take an important step forward. However, reaching a spatial resolution corresponding to less than an Earth orbit at the closest star forming region requires even sharper instruments. Optical long-baseline interferometry allows astronomers to probe these systems at such high angular resolution.

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