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Proceedings Paper

Extra-solar planetary imager (ESPI) for space-based Jovian planetary detection
Author(s): Richard G. Lyon; Daniel Y. Gezari; Gary J. Melnick; Peter Nisenson; Costas D. Papaliolios; Stephen T. Ridgway; Edward J. Friedman; Martin Harwit; Paul Graf
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Paper Abstract

The Extra-Solar Planetary Imager (ESPI) is envisioned as a space based, high dynamic range, visible imager capable of detecting Jovian like planets. Initially proposed as a NASA Midex (NASA/Medium Class Explorer) mission (PI:Gary Melnick), as a space-based 1.5 x 1.5 m2 Jacquinot apodized square aperture telescope. The combination of apodization and a square aperture telescope reduces the diffracted light from a bright central source increasing the planetary to stellar contrast over much of the telescope focal plane. As a result, observations of very faint astronomical objects next to bright sources with angular separations as small as 0.32 arcseconds become possible. This permits a sensitive search for exo-planets in reflected light. ESPI is capable of detecting a Jupiter-like planet in a relatively long-period orbit around as many as 160 to 175 stars with a signal-to-noise ratio > 5 in observations lasting maximally 100 hours per star out to ~16 parsecs. We discuss the scientific ramifications, an overview of the system design including apodizing a square aperture, signal to noise issues and the effect of wavefront errors and the scalability of ESPI with respect to NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder mission.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 March 2003
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4860, High-Contrast Imaging for Exo-Planet Detection, (3 March 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.457843
Show Author Affiliations
Richard G. Lyon, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Daniel Y. Gezari, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Gary J. Melnick, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Peter Nisenson, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Costas D. Papaliolios, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Stephen T. Ridgway, National Optical Astronomy Observatories (United States)
Edward J. Friedman, Boeing-SVS, Inc. (United States)
Martin Harwit, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Paul Graf, Aerospace Solutions (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4860:
High-Contrast Imaging for Exo-Planet Detection
Alfred B. Schultz; Richard G. Lyon, Editor(s)

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