High contrast imaging at the LBT: The LEECH exoplanet imaging survey

Andrew J. Skemer, Philip Hinz, Simone Esposito, Michael F. Skrutskie, Denis Defrère, Vanessa Bailey, Jarron Leisenring, Daniel Apai, Beth Biller, Mickaël Bonnefoy, Wolfgang Brandner, Esther Buenzli, Laird Close, Justin Crepp, Robert J. De Rosa, Silvano Desidera, Josh Eisner, Jonathan Fortney, Thomas Henning, Karl Heinz HofmannTaisiya Kopytova, Anne Lise Maire, Jared R. Males, Rafael Millan-Gabet, Katie Morzinski, Apurva Oza, Jennifer Patience, Abhijith Rajan, George Rieke, Dieter Schertl, Joshua Schlieder, Kate Su, Amali Vaz, Kimberly Ward-Duong, Gerd Weigelt, Charles E. Woodward, Neil Zimmerman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

27 Scopus citations


In Spring 2013, the LEECH (LBTI Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt) survey began its ∼130-night campaign from the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) atop Mt Graham, Arizona. This survey benefits from the many technological achievements of the LBT, including two 8.4-meter mirrors on a single fixed mount, dual adaptive secondary mirrors for high Strehl performance, and a cold beam combiner to dramatically reduce the telescope's overall background emissivity. LEECH neatly complements other high-contrast planet imaging efforts by observing stars at L' (3.8 μm), as opposed to the shorter wavelength near-infrared bands (1-2.4 μm) of other surveys. This portion of the spectrum offers deep mass sensitivity, especially around nearby adolescent (∼0.1-1 Gyr) stars. LEECH's contrast is competitive with other extreme adaptive optics systems, while providing an alternative survey strategy. Additionally, LEECH is characterizing known exoplanetary systems with observations from 3-5μm in preparation for JWST.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive Optics Systems IV
EditorsJean-Pierre Veran, Enrico Marchetti, Laird M. Close
ISBN (Electronic)9780819496164
StatePublished - 2014
EventAdaptive Optics Systems IV - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Jun 22 2014Jun 27 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherAdaptive Optics Systems IV


  • adaptive optics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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