We show star images obtained with a miniature ``densified pupil imaging interferometer'' also called a hyper-telescope. The formation of such images violates a ``golden rule of imaging interferometers'' which appeared to forbid the use of interferometric arrangements differing from a Fizeau interferometer. These produce useless images when the sub-apertures spacing is much wider than their size, owing to diffraction through the sub-apertures. The hyper-telescope arrangement solves these problems opening the way towards multi-kilometer imaging arrays in space. We experimentally obtain an intensity gain of \( 24\pm 3\times \) when a densified-pupil interferometer is compared to an equivalent Fizeau-type interferometer and show images of the double star \( \alpha \) Gem. The initial results presented confirm the possibility of directly obtaining high resolution and high dynamic range images in the recombined focal plane of a large interferometer if enough elements are used.
- INTERFEROMETERS, DOUBLE STAR IMAGES, LABORATORY IMAGES, PUPIL DENSIFICATION