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Proceedings Paper

Improved Resolution and Image Separation (IRIS) Satellite: astronomical observations with a large occulting satellite
Author(s): Craig J. Copi; Glenn D. Starkman
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Paper Abstract

Natural occultations have long been used to study sources on small angular scales, while coronographs have been used to study high contrast sources. We propose launching the Improved Resolution and Image Selection (IRIS) Satellite, a large steerable occulting satellite. IRIS will have several advantages over standard occulting bodies. IRIS woudl block over 99.8 percent of the visible light from an occulted point source. Because the occultation occurs outside both the telescope and the atmosphere, seeing and optical imperfections do not degrade this performance. If placed in Earth orbit, integration times of 160-1600 s can be achieved from most major telescope sites for objects in over 90 percent of the sky. Alternately, IRIS could be combined with a 2-4 meter space telescope at the Earth-Sun L2 point to yield very long integration times. Applications for IRIS include direct imaging of planets around nearby stars, and resolution of micro-lensed images of LMC and Galactic bulge stars into distinct image pairs. Resolution of microlensed stars would greatly improve our understanding of the massive compact halo objects comprising 20-90 percent of the mass of our galaxy. Direct imaging of planets, would enhance our understanding of star formation, formation of planetary systems, and perhaps ultimately help evaluate the probability of extraterrestrial life.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 August 1998
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 3356, Space Telescopes and Instruments V, (28 August 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.324483
Show Author Affiliations
Craig J. Copi, Case Western Reserve Univ. (United States)
Glenn D. Starkman, Case Western Reserve Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3356:
Space Telescopes and Instruments V
Pierre Y. Bely; James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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