2021-01-13, 15:00: Dr. Frank Eisenhauer (MPE)
Dr. Frank Eisenhauer
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Germany
GRAVITY+: All Sky, High Contrast, Milli-Arcsecond Optical Interferometric Imaging and Spectroscopy
Abstract: GRAVITY and the VLTI have transformed high angular resolution astronomy with groundbreaking results on the Galactic Center, active galactic nuclei, young stellar objects, and exoplanets. The GRAVITY+ project will soon boost optical interferometry to the next level, opening up the extragalactic sky for milli-arcsecond resolution interferometric imaging, giving access to targets as faint as K = 22 mag, and providing ever higher contrast for the observation of exoplanets. This will made possible with the implementation of wide-field fringe-tracking, new state-of-the-art adaptive optics, laser guide stars for all 8m telescopes, and performance improvements of GRAVITY and the VLT(I) infrastructure. Starting from the GRAVITY highlights of the last year, we sketch our future directions for astronomy at highest angular resolution and outline some of the science and discovery space opening up with GRAVITY+: a detailed view on the first supermassive black holes, AGN – Galaxy coevolution at cosmic dawn, supermassive Black Hole binaries, the detection and characterization of exoplanets and their atmospheres, the spin of the Galactic Center black hole, microlenses tracing the Milky Ways dark components, intermediate mass Black Holes, young Suns and their planet forming disks, and more.