GRAVITY is the second generation Very Large Telescope Interferometer instrument for precision narrow-angle astrometry and interferometric imaging. With its fibre-fed integrated optics, wavefront sensors, fringe tracker, beam stabilisation and a novel metrology concept, GRAVITY will push the sensitivity and accuracy of astrometry and interferometric imaging far beyond what is offered today. Providing precision astrometry of order 10 microarcseconds, and imaging with 4-milliarcsecond resolution, GRAVITY will revolutionise dynamical measurements of celestial objects: it will probe physics close to the event horizon of the Galactic Centre black hole; unambiguously detect and measure the masses of black holes in massive star clusters throughout the Milky Way; uncover the details of mass accretion and jets in young stellar objects and active galactic nuclei; and probe the motion of binary stars, exoplanets and young stellar discs. The instrument capabilities of GRAVITY are outlined and the science opportunities that will open up are summarised.
- Pub Date:
- March 2011