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Proceedings Paper

Innovative image analysis software as a technology driver for advances in space telescope design
Author(s): Kenneth J. Mighell
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Paper Abstract

Innovative image analysis software has the potential to act as a technology driver for advancing the state-of-the- art in the design of space telescopes and space-based instrumentation. Total mission costs can sometimes be significantly reduced by using innovative compact optical designs that create ugly Point Spread Functions. Most traditional astronomical image analysis techniques, like precision stellar photometry and astrometry, were developed for the analysis of ground-based image data and many photometric reduction codes cleverly take full advantage of the blurring caused by the Earth's atmosphere. Image data from space-based cameras, however, is typically characterized by having significant amounts of power at high spatial frequencies. Mission designers have a penchant to approve of optical designs that are undersampled. Although excellent justifications can often be made for using complex optical designs that have ugly Point Spread Functions (e.g., reduced total mission cost) or for using detectors that are too big at a given wavelength (e.g., giving a wider field-of-view), the analysis of resultant image data from these designs is frequently problematical. Reliance upon traditional ground-based image analysis codes may preclude the use of innovative space-based optical designs if such designs are rejected during the design review process for the very practical reason that there is no proven way to accurately analyze the resultant image data. I discuss ongoing research efforts to develop new image analysis algorithms specifically for space-based cameras that may help NASA and ESA to enhance the scientific returns from future astrophysical missions while possibly lowering total mission costs.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 June 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6265, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter, 62652T (15 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.672015
Show Author Affiliations
Kenneth J. Mighell, National Optical Astronomy Observatory (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6265:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter
John C. Mather; Howard A. MacEwen; Mattheus W. M. de Graauw, Editor(s)

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