Commissioning of the new NN- EXPLORE Speckle Interferomentry Instrument (NESSI

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Commissioning of the NN-EXPLORE Program Speckle Interferometry Instrument NESSI (NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet Speckle and Stellar Imager) took place on October 13-15, 2016 at the 3.5-m WIYN telescope facility located at the Kitt Peak National Laboratory of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. The instrument was built at Ames Research Center by Nic Scott, Emmett Quigley and Steve B.

Howell, and the commissioning team of Steve B. Howell (ARC), Nic Scott (ARC), Elliott Horch (SCSU), and Mark Everett (NOAO) are pictured below with the NESSI mounted on the telescope. NESSI produces the highest resolution astronomical images available anywhere with a single telescope as well as a “wide-field” mode yielding extraordinary spatial resolution. NESSI will be used for a variety of scientific observations including planetary astronomy, variable star research, and its prime goal of small rocky exoplanet validation and characterization. This instrument will provide valuable synergy with and detailed input for K2, TESS, JWST, and WFIRST.

High-resolution “wide-field” page of the planet Uranus and its moons. the faint blob to the left or Uranus is an image ghost from the bright planet. The planet and moons are completely resolved.

 

 

 

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