A new algorithm for point spread function subtraction in high-contrast imaging: a demonstration with angular differential imaging

Research paper by David Lafreniere, Christian Marois, Rene Doyon, Daniel Nadeau, Etienne Artigau

Indexed on: 26 Feb '07Published on: 26 Feb '07Published in: Astrophysics


Direct imaging of exoplanets is limited by bright quasi-static speckles in the point spread function (PSF) of the central star. This limitation can be reduced by subtraction of reference PSF images. We have developed an algorithm to construct an optimized reference PSF image from a set of reference images. This image is built as a linear combination of the reference images available and the coefficients of the combination are optimized inside multiple subsections of the image independently to minimize the residual noise within each subsection. The algorithm developed can be used with many high-contrast imaging observing strategies relying on PSF subtraction, such as angular differential imaging (ADI), roll subtraction, spectral differential imaging, reference star observations, etc. The performance of the algorithm is demonstrated for ADI data. It is shown that for this type of data the new algorithm provides a gain in sensitivity by up to a factor 3 at small separation over the algorithm used in Marois et al. (2006).