Review of small-angle coronagraphic techniques in the wake of ground-based second-generation adaptive optics systems
Small-angle coronagraphy is technically and scientifically appealing because it enables the use of smaller telescopes, allows covering wider wavelength ranges, and potentially increases the yield and completeness of circumstellar environment - exoplanets and disks - detection and characterization campaigns. However, opening up this new parameter space is challenging. Here we will review the four posts of high contrast imaging and their intricate interactions at very small angles (within the first 4 resolution elements from the star). The four posts are: choice of coronagraph, optimized wavefront control, observing strategy, and post-processing methods. After detailing each of the four foundations, we will present the lessons learned from the 10+ years of operations of zeroth and first-generation adaptive optics systems. We will then tentatively show how informative the current integration of second-generation adaptive optics system is, and which lessons can already be drawn from this fresh experience. Then, we will review the current state of the art, by presenting world record contrasts obtained in the framework of technological demonstrations for space-based exoplanet imaging and characterization mission concepts. Finally, we will conclude by emphasizing the importance of the cross-breeding between techniques developed for both ground-based and space-based projects, which is relevant for future high contrast imaging instruments and facilities in space or on the ground.