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Proceedings Paper

High-sensitivity polarimeter for the direct detection and characterization of extra-solar planets
Author(s): James H. Hough; Philip W. Lucas; Jeremy A. Bailey; Motohide Tamura
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Paper Abstract

We are constructing a high sensitivity optical polarimeter capable of detecting fractional polarization levels below 10-6. The science goal is to directly detect extra-solar planets (ESP), in contrast to the indirect methods such as radial velocity measurements. The polarimeter will detect starlight scattered from the atmosphere of the planet as a polarisation signal thereby giving information on the planetary atmospheres. The radius of the planet and the planet temperature can be determined from the measured albedo. The position angle of polarisation will enable the mass of planets, detected through radial velocity measurements, to be determined without the uncertainty of the orbit inclination (Msini). The polarimeter has an essentially simple and classical design but is able to take advantage, inter alia, of modern detector technology.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 February 2003
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 4843, Polarimetry in Astronomy, (14 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.458222
Show Author Affiliations
James H. Hough, Univ. of Hertfordshire (United Kingdom)
Philip W. Lucas, Univ. of Hertfordshire (United Kingdom)
Jeremy A. Bailey, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
Motohide Tamura, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (Japan)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4843:
Polarimetry in Astronomy
Silvano Fineschi, Editor(s)

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