The Project

The Large Binocular Telescope is a uniquely powerful common-mount, dual-aperture sustem. The LBT Interferometer leverages this setup to deliver 23 m resolution capabilities. The system is optimized for observations in the thermal infrared.

These capabilites are being developed to explore the nature of nearby exoplanetary systems (see the survey descriptions below). These observations will improve our understanding of asteroid belts and giant planters around nearby stars, an important stepping stone toward future direct imaging of Earth-like planets.

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The LBTI Surveys

HOSTS

The Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial planetary Systems (HOSTS) will be the first survey to detect faint warm dust from collisions in asteroid belts around other stars. These asteroid belts are both intriguing and troubling. Detection of the dust would indicate a planetary system similar to ours, with small rocky bodies. However, such dust may very well blind future imaging missions planned to find and characterize Earth-like planets. The HOSTS survey is an important pathfinder for these missions.

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Learn more about the HOSTS survey

LEECH

The LBTI Exozodi, Exoplanet Common Hunt (LEECH) will carry out parallel observations of the same stars during the HOSTS survey at 4 microns wavelength. These observations will be sensitive to Jupiter-like gas giant planets. Combined with the HOSTS information and other NASA observatories, we will develop a more complete understanding of exoplanetary systems.

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Learn more about the LEECH survey.

updated July 2013