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Proceedings Paper

POINTS: the instrument and its mission
Author(s): Robert D. Reasenberg; Robert W. Babcock; Marc A. Murison; Martin Charles Noecker; James D. Phillips; Bonny L. Schumaker
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Paper Abstract

POINTS comprises a pair of independent Michelson stellar interferometers and a laser metrology system that measures both the critical starlight paths and the angle between the two baselines. The nominal design has baselines of 2 m, subapertures of 35 cm, and a single- measurement accuracy of 5 microarcseconds for targets separated by approximately equals 90 degree(s). In a five-year mission, POINTS could yield, e.g., a 1% Cepheid distance scale, galactic mass distribution, knowledge of cluster dynamics, and stellar masses and luminosities. In a ten-year mission, POINTS could perform a deep search for other planetary systems, using only 20% of the available observing time. POINTS does global astrometry, i.e., it measures widely separated targets, which yields closure calibration, numerous bright reference stars, and absolute parallax. The instrument has only three moving-part mechanisms, and only one of these must move with sub-milliradian accuracy. On each side of the interferometer, there are only three (interferometrically critical) optical surfaces preceding the beamsplitter or its fold flat. POINTS is small, agile, and mechanically simple. It would prove much of the technology for future imaging interferometers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 June 1995
PDF: 21 pages
Proc. SPIE 2477, Spaceborne Interferometry II, (26 June 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.212991
Show Author Affiliations
Robert D. Reasenberg, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Robert W. Babcock, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Marc A. Murison, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Martin Charles Noecker, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
James D. Phillips, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Bonny L. Schumaker, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2477:
Spaceborne Interferometry II
Robert D. Reasenberg, Editor(s)

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