Image of Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter's tea party You are cordially invited to afternoon tea and biscuits wine and chocolate

Astronomy Tea Talks at Caltech

Mondays, Hameetman auditorium (Cahill)
Tea:  4.00pm
Talk: 4.15pm

Organized by:

2010 - 2011 season:
22 November 2010 Eric Cady (JPL)

'External occulters for direct imaging of extrasolar planets'

A key science goal in the exoplanet community is the detection and characterization of planets with similar properties to Earth. One method of finding these Earth-size planets is by using an occulter, a spacecraft with a shaped edge flown in formation with a telescope. The size of the occulter and its location are chosen so that the occulter suppresses the light from the star by ten orders of magnitude or more over a particular wavelength band, while leaving the planet light unaffected. Most designs have an occulter tens of meters in diameter, and separated from the telescope by tens of thousands of kilometers, which gives the occulter an angular size on the order of a hundred milliarcseconds.

In my talk, I will discuss the design of these systems, their capabilities, and their tolerances to manufacturing errors and misalignment. I will give an overview of some concepts at different scales, and describe some ongoing tests of the subscale optical system and the deployment hardware.
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Last modified on 20th Jul 2011 by Dominik A. Riechers.  

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