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Proceedings Paper

A UV/optical telescope for the New Worlds Observer mission
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Paper Abstract

The New Worlds Observer (NWO) mission uses a large external occulter, or "starshade," to block the light from nearby stars and cast a deep shadow over the entrance aperture of a space telescope, enabling it to detect and characterize Exo-Solar Planets. Since these planets are intrinsically faint (30th to 32nd magnitude), the telescope must have a large aperture (2.4 to 4 meters) and the starshade must be large enough (25 to 50 meters) to create a shadow that is deep enough (108 to 1010 starlight suppression) and large enough (5 to 10 meters in diameter) to envelop the telescope. The telescope must also be far enough from the starshade (30,000 to 80,000 kilometers) that planets close to the star (50 to 65 milli-arc-seconds) are not occulted. Since the starshade's performance is inversely proportional to the wavelength of the starlight, the telescope must operate in the visible and near infrared. The telescope should also have a significant capability for general astrophysics observations, since it will have more than half its time available for other observations while the starshade is moving from one target to the next. This paper describes our conceptual design for the NWO telescope, including its instrument suite and operations concept. We note that in addition to comparative planetology studies and the detection and characterization of terrestrial planets, the telescope could provide a UV/Optical observing capability for the general astronomical community in the post-HST era.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 September 2007
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 6687, UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes: Innovative Technologies and Concepts III, 668717 (20 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.735435
Show Author Affiliations
Charles F. Lillie, Northrop Grumman Space Technology (United States)
D. Dailey, Northrop Grumman Space Technology (United States)
Amy S. Lo, Northrop Grumman Space Technology (United States)
Ronald S. Polidan, Northrop Grumman Space Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6687:
UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes: Innovative Technologies and Concepts III
Howard A. MacEwen; James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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