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Proceedings Paper

Exoplanet detection via stellar intensity correlation interferometry
Author(s): David Hyland
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Paper Abstract

This paper considers the Hanbury Brown-Twiss effect and its application to astrometry in the service of extra-solar planet detection, particularly terrestrial planets at a range of 15 pc or less. The system considered comprises several modest-sized telescopes (light collectors) each equipped with photodetection apparatus and the means to record the photodetector signal time-history. At some convenient location, the cross-correlations of the individual light collector photodetection histories is computed to yield, in turn, a collection of values for the magnitudes of the mutual coherence of the target scene at various measurement baselines. With this type of observation system, we show that if there are known guide stars within the picture frame, the computed coherence magnitudes may be used to infer the apparent motion of the target star. Provided sufficiently large measurement baselines, the resolution of the target star motion can be very fine. We first compute the signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio of a single coherence magnitude measurement and then, using simple models of the telescope array and the target star gravitational perturbation due to a terrestrial planet, we compute the SNR for determination of the planet orbit parameters, up to the determinacy afforded by astrometric measurements. We have provided expressions for the region in the (planetary mass-orbital semi-major axis) plane for which SNR is above a desired value. With these results, we can determine the sensitivity and range of the overall instrument for astrometry in planet detection. Moreover, one can assess the relative advantages of this technique in comparison with amplitude interferometry.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 September 2005
PDF: 17 pages
Proc. SPIE 5905, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets II, 590511 (14 September 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.612921
Show Author Affiliations
David Hyland, Texas A and M Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5905:
Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets II
Daniel R. Coulter, Editor(s)

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