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Multi-star wavefront control for the wide-field infrared survey telescope
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Paper Abstract

The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is planned to have a coronagraphic instrument (CGI) to enable high-contrast direct imaging of exoplanets around nearby stars. The majority of nearby FGK stars are located in multi-star systems, including the Alpha Centauri stars which may represent the best quality targets for the CGI on account of their proximity and brightness potentially allowing the direct imaging of rocky planets. However, a binary system exhibits additional leakage from the off-axis companion star that may be brighter than the target exoplanet. Multi-Star Wavefront Control (MSWC) is a wavefront-control technique that allows suppression of starlight of both stars in a binary system thus enabling direct imaging of circumstellar planets in binary star systems such as Alpha Centauri. We explore the capabilities of the WFIRST CGI instrument to directly image multi-star systems using MSWC. We consider several simulated scenarios using the WFIRST CGI's Shaped Pupil Coronagraph (SPC) Wide-Field Imaging Mode. First, we consider close binaries such as Mu Cassiopeia that require no modifications to the WFIRST CGI instrument and can be implemented as a purely algorithmic solution. Second, we consider wide binaries such as Alpha Centauri that require a diffraction grating to enable suppression of the off-axis starlight leakage at Super-Nyquist separations. We demonstrate via simulation dark holes in 10% broadband compatible with the WFIRST CGI.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 July 2018
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 10698, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 106982F (6 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2314145
Show Author Affiliations
Dan Sirbu, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Bay Area Environmental Research Institute (United States)
Ruslan Belikov, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Eduardo Bendek, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Bay Area Environmental Research Institute (United States)
Chris Henze, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
A.J. Eldorado Riggs, Jet Propulsion Lab., Caltech (United States)
Stuart Shaklan, Jet Propulsion Lab., Caltech (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10698:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Makenzie Lystrup; Howard A. MacEwen; Giovanni G. Fazio; Natalie Batalha; Nicholas Siegler; Edward C. Tong, Editor(s)

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