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Proceedings Paper

Extrasolar planetary imaging coronagraph (EPIC)
Author(s): Mark Clampin; Gary Melnick; Richard Lyon; Scott Kenyon; Dimitar Sasselov; Volker Tolls; Holland Ford; David Golimowski; Larry Petro; George Hartig; William Sparks; Garth Illingworth; Doug Lin; Sara Seager; Alycia Weinberger; Martin Harwit; Mark Marley; Jean Schneider; Michael Shao; Marty Levine; Jian Ge; Robert Woodruff
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Paper Abstract

The Extrasolar Planetary Imaging Coronagraph (EPIC) is a proposed NASA Discovery mission to image and characterize extrasolar giant planets in orbits with semi-major axes between 2 and 10 AU. EPIC will provide insights into the physical nature of a variety of planets in other solar systems complimenting radial velocity (RV) and astrometric planet searches. It will detect and characterize the atmospheres of planets identified by radial velocity surveys, determine orbital inclinations and masses, characterize the atmospheres around A and F type stars which cannot be found with RV techniques, and observe the inner spatial structure and colors of debris disks. EPIC has a proposed launch date of 2012 to heliocentric Earth trailing drift-away orbit, with a 3 year mission lifetime (5 year goal), and will revisit planets at least three times at intervals of 9 months. The robust mission design is simple and flexible ensuring mission success while minimizing cost and risk. The science payload consists of a heritage optical telescope assembly (OTA), and visible nulling coronagraph (VNC) instrument. The instrument achieves a contrast ratio of 109 over a 4.84 arcsecond field-of-view with an unprecedented inner working angle of 0.14 arcseconds over the spectral range of 440-880 nm, with spectral resolutions from 10 - 150. The telescope is a 1.5 meter offaxis Cassegrain with an OTA wavefront error of λ/9, which when coupled to the VNC greatly reduces the requirements on the large scale optics, compressing them to stability requirements within the relatively compact VNC optical chain. The VNC features two integrated modular nullers, a spatial filter array (SFA), and an E2V-L3 photon counting CCD. Direct null control is accomplished from the science focal mitigating against complex wavefront and amplitude sensing and control strategies.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 July 2006
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 6265, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter, 62651B (6 July 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.672849
Show Author Affiliations
Mark Clampin, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Gary Melnick, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Richard Lyon, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Scott Kenyon, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Dimitar Sasselov, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Volker Tolls, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Holland Ford, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
David Golimowski, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Larry Petro, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
George Hartig, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
William Sparks, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
Garth Illingworth, Univ. of California Observatories/Lick Observatory (United States)
Doug Lin, Univ. of California Observatories/Lick Observatory (United States)
Sara Seager, Carnegie Institution of Washington/DTM (United States)
Alycia Weinberger, Carnegie Institution of Washington/DTM (United States)
Martin Harwit, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Mark Marley, NASA/Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Jean Schneider, Paris Observatory (France)
Michael Shao, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Marty Levine, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Jian Ge, Univ. of Florida (United States)
Robert Woodruff, Lockheed-Martin (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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