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Proceedings Paper

Filled aperture concepts for the Terrestrial Planet Finder
Author(s): Stephen T. Ridgway
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Paper Abstract

Filled aperture telescopes can deliver a real, high Strehl image which is well suited for discrimination of faint planets in the vicinity of bright stars and against an extended exo-zodiacal light. A filled aperture offers a rich variety of PSF control and diffraction suppression techniques. Filled apertures are under consideration for a wide spectral range, including visible and thermal-IR, each of which offers a significant selection of biomarker molecular bands. A filled aperture visible TPF may be simpler in several respects than a thermal-IR nuller. The required aperture size (or baseline) is much smaller, and no cryogenic systems are required. A filled aperture TPF would look and act like a normal telescope - vendors and users alike would be comfortable with its design and operation. Filled aperture telescopes pose significant challenges in production of large primary mirrors, and in very stringent wavefront requirements. Stability of the wavefront control, and hence of the PSF, is a major issue for filled aperture systems. Several groups have concluded that these and other issues can be resolved, and that filled aperture options are competitive for a TPF precursor and/or for the full TPF mission. Ball, Boeing-SVS and TRW have recently returned architecture reviews on filled aperture TPF concepts. In this paper, I will review some of the major considerations underlying these filled aperture concepts, and suggest key issues in a TPF Buyers Guide.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 February 2003
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4852, Interferometry in Space, (26 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.460863
Show Author Affiliations
Stephen T. Ridgway, National Optical Astronomy Observatories (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4852:
Interferometry in Space
Michael Shao, Editor(s)

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