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Proceedings Paper

Feasibility of exoplanet coronagraphy with the Hubble Space Telescope
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Paper Abstract

Herein we report on a preliminary study to assess the use of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) for the direct detection and spectroscopic characterization of exoplanets and debris disks - an application for which HST was not originally designed. Coronagraphic advances may enable the design of a science instrument that could achieve limiting contrasts ~109 beyond 275 milli-arcseconds (4 λ/D at 800 nm) inner working angle, thereby enabling detection and characterization of several known jovian planets and imaging of debris disks. Advantages of using HST are that it already exists in orbit, it's primary mirror is thermally stable and it is the most characterized space telescope yet flown. However there is drift of the HST telescope, likely due to thermal effects crossing the terminator. The drift, however, is well characterized and consists of a larger deterministic components and a smaller stochastic component. It is the effect of this drift versus the sensing and control bandwidth of the instrument that would likely limit HST coronagraphic performance. Herein we discuss the science case, quantify the limiting factors and assess the feasibility of using HST for exoplanet discovery using a hypothetical new instrument.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 August 2010
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7731, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 773111 (6 August 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857518
Show Author Affiliations
Richard G. Lyon, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Robert A. Woodruff, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. (United States)
Robert Brown, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
M. Charley Noecker, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Edward Cheng, Conceptual Analytics, LLC (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7731:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Jacobus M. Oschmann; Mark C. Clampin; Howard A. MacEwen, Editor(s)

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