January 2022: this is the end of the AIT phase in Nice. The instrument is now in boxes, ready for shipping. The departure is scheduled for Jan 24 and an arrival in LAX on Jan 29. VirtualVisitSPICA_Nice.mp4
Autumn 2021: We progress on the resolution of the identified issues. In parallel the control of all motors and electronic systems is progressing wel with automated alignement software, pipeline... We are also preparing the packaging and the shipping of the instrument that is considered for January/February 2022. By the end of October, we were finally able to travel to Mount Wilson for the preparation of the SPICA integration. CHARA/VEGA has been totally decommissioned and the lab is almost ready to welcome SPICA.
Summer 2021: The AIV phase in Nice progressed a lot. We lost a lot of time with a stupid dielectric coating on one mirror of our CHARA simulator. The Verification phase identified two main issues. A bad gluing of the microlens array at the output of the V-groove is generating a diffraction pattern generating some pollution of the photometric channels. Moreover the gluing of the fibers in the V-groove is not good enough with respect to the very high magnification of the spectrometer, thus generating a small degradation of the superposition of the beams. A second generation of the V-groove is considered for the spring 2022, as the current one is still good enough to start on sky. The second issue is related to the magnification of the intermediate pupil plane needed for the fast tip/tilt correction, generating a small optical modification.
April 2021: breaking news.... ERC-Adv ISSP (Interferometric Survey of Stellar Parameters, PI D. Mourard) is funded for 5 years!
March 2021: the integration of the injection table is progressing well: first light obtained with the fiber back illumination. CHARA optical Simulator under integration. (see presentations at CHARA 2021 meeting)
October 2020: Procurement Phase for SPICA-VIS and pursuit of the developments
After the Design Review of July 2020 and the additional studies made in-between, a large fraction of the procurements needed for the construction of SPICA-VIS (injection table and spectrograph) has been made.
2 July 2019: Summary of the Telecon of the WG leaders
28-30 January 2019: CHARA/SPICA Science Group Workshop. The synthesis of the Workshop is presented here with an organization of the Science Group around working packages. The main output of the meeting is that CHARA/SPICA (in collaboration with the JMMC) will propose a description of the interferometric pipeline inside PLATO WP122 (Non Seismics Diagnostics and Model Atmospheres). There is also a link to be discussed around WP125500 (benchmarks stars within WP125: “Determination of Stellar Parameters” ). We also identified a possible link with WP121 (“Stellar Models”) as CHARA/SPICA will derive the masses of about 100 hundred stars independently, and with WP169 ("Complementary Science: Spectroscopic, Interferometric and Multicolour follow-up").
January 2019: Arrival of Fabien Patru (PostDoc OPTICON)
December 2018: additional complementary funding from UCA for SPICA/HFT (20k€)
December 2018: Purchase orders are placed for the optomechanical pieces of the FT testbed in Nice and for the detailed design and the fabrication of the IO (6T ABCD) chip. Fibers and V-Groove + assembly is alse ordered.
October 2018: New CHARA run with the CESAR experiment dedicated to the validation of the tip/tilt stabilization of the injection into a single mode fiber in the visible behind a partial AO correction (P. Berio, C. Lim, D. Mourard, C. Petit, I. Tallon-Bosc, M. Tallon).
September 2018: The material from the LESIA/Gravity-FT testbed is received at Lagrange/Fizeau
July 2018: Funding from UCA/C4P0 (61k€) for the development of CHARA/SPICA-FT and VLTI/HFT
June 2018: Funding from CNRS/INSU mi-lourd (48.5k€) for the development of the SPICA Fringe Tracker
February 2017: First funding obtained from CNRS (20k€) and UCA (30k€) for the EMCCD development (ANDOR + CESAR experiment)