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24 February 2003 The Eclipse mission: a direct imaging survey of nearby planetary systems
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Eclipse is a proposed Discovery-class mission to perform a sensitive imaging survey of nearby planetary systems, including a complete survey for Jupiter-sized planets orbiting 5 AU from all stars of spectral types A-K to distances of 15 pc. Eclipse is a coronagraphic space telescope concept designed for high-contrast visible wavelength imaging and spectrophotometry. Its optical design incorporates essential elements: a telescope with an unobscured aperture of 1.8 meters and optical surfaces optimized for smoothness at critical spatial frequencies, a coronagraphic camera for suppression of diffracted light, and precision active optical correction for suppression of light scattered by residual mirror surface irregularities. For reference, Eclipse is predicted to reduce diffracted and scattered starlight between 0.25 and 2.0 arcseconds from the star by at least three orders of magnitude compared to any HST instrument. The Eclipse mission offers precursor science explorations and critical technology validation in support of coronagraphic concepts for NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF). A baseline three-year science mission would provide a survey of the nearby stars accessible to TPF before the end of this decade, promising fundamental new insights into the nature and evolution of possibly diverse planetary systems associated with our Sun's nearest neighbors.
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
John T. Trauger, Tony Hull, Karl Stapelfeldt, Dana Backman, Roger B. Bagwell, Robert A. Brown, Adam Burrows, Christopher J. Burrows, Mark A. Ealey, Christ Ftaclas, Sara R. Heap, Jeremy Kasdin, Jonathan I. Lunine, Geoff W. Marcy, David C. Redding, Wesley A. Traub, Bruce E. Woodgate, Raghvendra Sahai, and David Spergel "The Eclipse mission: a direct imaging survey of nearby planetary systems", Proc. SPIE 4854, Future EUV/UV and Visible Space Astrophysics Missions and Instrumentation, (24 February 2003);


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