University of Exeter, UK
April 20-24th 2020
The last few years have seen ground-breaking scientific results in the field of optical/infrared high angular resolution astronomy, opening up new opportunities for observations covering a wide range of key astrophysical objects over a broad range of wavelengths and allowing for the physical characterisation of astronomical objects on milli- and micro-arcsecond scales. At the same time, improved imaging fidelity is opening up new scientific endeavours in e.g. time domain astronomy.
For the first time, the K-band spectrum of an exoplanet has been obtained at spectral resolution 500, stellar surface convection has been imaged on a star other than the Sun, and the broad-line region of a quasar has been spatially resolved on sub-parsec scales. Recent results have also seen unprecedented tests of General Relativity, remarkable detail and complexity revealed in the gas of a micro-quasar jet via milli-arcsecond resolution imaging spectroscopy, and the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud constrained to better than 1 per cent.
Further exciting opportunities lay ahead with new and upcoming adaptive optics systems, both at the CHARA Array (operated by Georgia State University at Mount Wilson Observatory) and the VLT Interferometer (VLTI, built in Chile and operated by the European Southern Observatory), enabling the study of fainter astronomical objects at greater sensitivity. With the current generation of four and six-telescope combiners, astronomers are now capable of reconstructing images of complex features at unprecedented angular resolution and we anticipate the first results from MIRC-X and MATISSE in advance of the conference.
At this conference, we aim to discuss the latest science results from high angular resolution astronomy obtained using interferometric and non-interferometric techniques and instruments (ALMA, VLT, Gemini, Subaru, NPOI…), covering topics including (but not limited to):
- planet formation and the discs around young stars;
- stellar astrophysics and fundamental parameters;
- Active Galactic Nuclei;
- exoplanet atmosphere characterisation and detection;
- orbital dynamics close to the Galactic Centre;
- evolved stars;
- the role of multiplicity in stellar evolution.
The meeting will be held in the tradition of the past CHARA meetings and VLTI community days, bringing both communities together for the first time. There will be time provided for discussions regarding the recent and future technological development of CHARA and VLTI, including how to best exploit these advancements in synergy with other facilities and instruments.