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Proceedings Paper

Imaging planets about other stars with UMBRAS
Author(s): Alfred B. Schultz; Daniel J. Schroeder; Ian J.E. Jordan; Fred Bruhweiler; Mike A. DiSanti; Helen M. Hart; Forrest C. Hamilton; John L. Hershey; Mark Kochte; Cherie L. Miskey; Kwang-Ping Cheng; Melodi Rodrigue; Bruce Johnson; Sami Fadali
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Paper Abstract

Direct imaging of terrestrial and Jupiter-size planets about other stars is a major goal of NASA's Origins Program and should be as well for the next generation of spaceborne telescopes. In this paper, we discuss a free-flying occulter to augment the design and imaging capability of space-based telescopes. The Umbral Mission Blocking Radiating Astronomical Sources (UMBRAS) space mission would consist of a Solar- Powered Ion-Driven Eclipsing Rover (SPIDER) and possibly one or two metrology platforms. The UMBRAS spacecraft would be semi-autonomous, with their own propulsion systems, internal power (solar cells), communications, and navigation capability. The spacecraft (the telescope, SPIDER, and any metrology platform) would define a reference frame for aligning the telescope and the SPIDER with the observed target. When stationed at distances of 1,000 to 15,000 km from a telescope, the occulter will enable an 8 m telescope to image very faint sources as close as 0.15' from the target stars. Three of the Doppler-detected planets about nearby stars are at this separation and could be directly imaged with this observing technique. It would be possible to image giant planets as close as 5 Au from parent stars at distances from the Sun as great as 30 pc. With this technique, terrestrial- size planets could be detected around nearby stars within the next decade. We briefly discuss the diffraction effects caused by the occulter and a preliminary proof-of-concept design for the UMBRAS spacecraft. Finally, we suggest types of observations other than planet finding that could be performed with UMBRAS.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 December 1999
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3759, Infrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing VII, (6 December 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.372685
Show Author Affiliations
Alfred B. Schultz, Computer Sciences Corp. (United States)
Daniel J. Schroeder, Beloit College (United States)
Ian J.E. Jordan, Computer Sciences Corp. (United States)
Fred Bruhweiler, Catholic Univ. of America (United States)
Mike A. DiSanti, Catholic Univ. of America (United States)
Helen M. Hart, Computer Sciences Corp. (United States)
Forrest C. Hamilton, Computer Sciences Corp. (United States)
John L. Hershey, Computer Sciences Corp. (United States)
Mark Kochte, Computer Sciences Corp. (United States)
Cherie L. Miskey, Catholic Univ. of America (United States)
Kwang-Ping Cheng, California State Univ./Fullerton (United States)
Melodi Rodrigue, Univ. of Nevada/Reno (United States)
Bruce Johnson, Univ. of Nevada/Reno (United States)
Sami Fadali, Univ. of Nevada/Reno (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3759:
Infrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing VII
Marija Strojnik; Bjorn F. Andresen, Editor(s)

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