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KEOPS: towards exo-Earths from Dome C of Antarctica

  • M. Giard, F. Casoli, F. Paletou, F. Vakili (a1), E. Aristidi (a1), F. X. Schmider (a1), S. Jankov (a1), E. Fossat (a1), L. Abe (a1), A. Domiciano (a1), A. Belu (a1), A. Agabi (a1), J.-B. Daban (a1), S. Robbe-Dubois (a1), R. Petrov (a1), J. Vernin (a1), A. Ziad (a1) and B. Lopez (a2)...

Abstract

This paper describes a coronagraphic nulling interferometer called KEOPS (Kiloparsec Explorer for Optical Planet Search) to be placed on the Dome C plateau of Antarctica. KEOPS is an interferometric array of 39 1 m–2 m telescopes spread over kilometric baselines and operated in the thermal IR region. It could search and characterize all potential exoEarths within the 1 kpc diameter region observable from Dome C. We argue that even in the very difficult operation conditions of Antarctica, such a facility can compete at a much lower cost with the non-zero risk space missions, both for for ExPNs search and their spectroscopic characterization plus sub-mas snap-shot imaging of galactic and extra-galactic compact sources.

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