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Proceedings Paper

The Fourier-Kelvin Stellar Interferometer: a practical interferometer for the detection and characterization of extrasolar giant planets
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Paper Abstract

The Fourier-Kelvin Stellar Interferometer (FKSI) is a mission concept for a nulling interferometer for the near-to-mid-infrared spectral region (3-8µm). FKSI is conceived as a scientific and technological precursor to TPF. The scientific emphasis of the mission is on the evolution of protostellar systems, from just after the collapse of the precursor molecular cloud core, through the formation of the disk surrounding the protostar, the formation of planets in the disk, and eventual dispersal of the disk material. FKSI will answer key questions about extrasolar planets: Σ What are the characteristics of the known extrasolar giant planets? Σ What are the characteristics of the extrasolar zodiacal clouds around nearby stars? Σ Are there giant planets around classes of stars other than those already studied? We present preliminary results of a detailed design study of the FKSI. Using a nulling interferometer configuration, the optical system consists of two 0.5m telescopes on a 12.5m boom feeding a Mach-Zender beam combiner with a fiber wavefront error reducer to produce a 0.01% null of the central starlight. With this system, planets around nearby stars can be detected and characterized using a combination of spectral and spatial resolution.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 October 2004
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 5491, New Frontiers in Stellar Interferometry, (20 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.552077
Show Author Affiliations
William C. Danchi, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Ronald J. Allen, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
Dominic J. Benford, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Drake Deming, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Daniel Y. Gezari, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Marc J. Kuchner, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
David T. Leisawitz, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Roger P. Linfield, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Rafael Millan-Gabet, California Institute of Technology (United States)
John D. Monnier, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Lee G. Mundy, Univ. of Maryland/College Park (United States)
Charley Noecker, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Jayadev K. Rajagopal, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Univ. of Maryland/College Park (United States)
L. J. Richardson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Stephen A. Rinehart, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Sara Seager, Carnegie Institution of Washington (United States)
Wesley Arthur Traub, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Debra J. Wallace, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5491:
New Frontiers in Stellar Interferometry
Wesley A. Traub, Editor(s)

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