The power of optical/IR interferometry: recent scientific results and 2nd generation VLTI instrumentation


NASA / JPL-Caltech

U.S. Naval Observatory


Organised in collaboration with the European Interferometry Initiative


A suite of powerful long baseline interferometers has come into operation recently, along with sophisticated instrumentation that is providing new levels of accuracy, spectral resolution and access to various spectral bands from the optical to the thermal infrared. Investigations are now enabled on a wealth of astrophysical sources with unprecedented levels of angular resolution and sensitivity, producing a considerable body of new, exciting scientific results. 

The ESO VLTI stands among the most powerful of such facilities. In celebrating the completion of the first phase of the VLTI development, we invite the community to come together to review and discuss new results of the VLTI and of other stellar interferometers, and to assess their impact on astronomy as a whole. This impact is likely to be significant and to drive future activities intended to upgrade existing devices and even to design completely new interferometric facilities on the ground and in space.

The workshop also doubles as the starting point to launch the second generation programme for VLTI instrumentation.

Format of the meeting :

The meeting will be scheduled in two parts:

The first part (2.5 days) will focus on scientific results and will be organized around invited reviews and selected contributed talks, with substantial time devoted to topical discussions. A broad poster session will also be scheduled. The following broad areas of research will be covered:

  • Stellar diameters, effective temperatures, limb darkening, flattening and surface structure
  • Pulsating stars (Cepheids and Miras)
  • Circumstellar matter, IR objects, evolved stars (including exotic objects like Eta Car)
  • Binaries, Multiples (including low mass companions and young stars)
  • Astrometry, Microlensing, Exoplanets, Solar System
  • Extragalactic and Space Interferometry

The second part (2 days) will be organized as a joint workshop between the European Interferometry Initiative (EII) and ESO on "2nd Generation VLTI Instrumentation". The purpose of the Workshop is to present and discuss the additional instrumentation required in the next 5-8 years to optimize the scientific return of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). For the EII, this Workshop will double as an internal reviewing process of the instrumental projects that are currently being studied as possible VLTI Instruments at the conceptual level in the frame of the Joint Research Activity #4 (Interferometry) of the OPTICON FP6 program. On the ESO side, this is the starting point in the process for selecting and building 2nd generation VLTI instruments. Recently, the Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) of ESO has recommended the extension of PRIMA facility to more than 2 ATs and 2 UTs and the development of a 4-way fringe tracker. This infrastructure would allow the development of 2-way as well as 3-way or 4-way beam combining instruments and give access to faint objects.

In addition to the Workshop, EII will hold a restricted meeting Friday 8 April p.m. for a mid-term evaluation of JRA #4 instrumental studies. The chosen instrumental proponents, OPTICON representatives & JRA #4 participants, ESO representatives & members of its governing bodies will be invited.

The proceedings will be published by Springer in the ESO Astrophysics Symposia series.

Organising Committee:

Y. Balega (Russia), A. Chelli (EII), W. Danchi (GSFC), J. Davis (SUSI), F. Delplancke (ESO), P. Garcia (Porto), A. Glindemann (ESO, co-chair), U. Graser (MPIA), C. Hummel (ESO), C. Leinert (MPIA), D. Mourard (OCA), F. Paresce (ESO, co-chair), R. Petrov (UNSA), A. Richichi (ESO), M. Schöller (ESO), C. Stoffer (ESO), J. Surdej (Liège).

Abstract submission deadline: 29 November 2004.

Abstract for the scientific (first) part of the workshop must be submitted to F. Paresce, co-chair of the workshop.

Potential PIs for a 2nd generation VLTI instrument are requested to submit, by the same date, an abstract of their presentation to the Chairperson of the instrumentation organizing committee (A. Chelli and A. Glindemann), irrespective of whether the project is studied in the JRA #4 frame or not. Some presentation time will also be allocated to eventual innovative concepts that are not yet linked to a specific instrumental project.

Advanced registration deadline: 29 November 2004

Final registration deadline and accomodation reservation deadline: 15 February 2005.
The number of participants will be limited to 100.

The poster of the conference can be found here.


The EII Consortium ( regroups European scientists promoting Interferometry both from the scientific and technical/instrumental point of view

A Joint Research activity of OPTICON

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