Imaging simulations of selected science with the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer
We present simulated observations of surface features on Red Supergiant (RSG) stars and clumpy dust structures surrounding Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) with the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer (MROI). These represent two of the classes of astrophysical targets enumerated in the MROI Key Science Mission that are typical of the types of complex astrophysical phenomena that the MROI has been designed to image. The simulations are based on source structures derived from recent theoretical models and include both random and systematic noise on the measured Fourier data (visibility amplitudes and closure phases) consistent with our expectations for typical such targets observed with the MROI. Image reconstructions, obtained using the BSMEM imaging package, are presented for 4-, 6- and 8- telescope implementations of the array. Although a rudimentary imaging capability is demonstrated with only 4 telescopes, the detailed features of targets are only reliably determined when at least 6 telescopes are present. By the tine 8 telescope are used, the reconstructed images are sufficiently faithful to allow the discrimination between competing models, confirming the design goal of the MROI, i.e. to offer model-independent near-infrared imaging on sub-milliarcsecond scales.
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/J00152X/1)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/K000225/1)