Institut national de recherche scientifique français Univerité Pierre et Marie Curie Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7

Imaging and characterizing the habitable zones of nearby planetary systems with the Pupil mapping Exoplanet Coronagraphic Observer (PECO)

Monday 15 June 2009, by Olivier Guyon (Subaru Telescope, National Observatory of Japan, Hawaii)

Friday 19 June 2009 à 14h00 , Lieu : Salle de confĂ©rence du bât. 17

The Pupil-mapping Exoplanet Coronagraphic Observer (PECO) is a NASA-funded mission concept which uses a coronagraphic 1.4-m space-based telescope to both image and characterize extra-solar planetary systems at optical wavelengths. PECO delivers 1e10 contrast at 2 lambda/D separation (0.15") using a high-performance Phase-Induced Amplitude Apodization (PIAA) coronagraph which remaps the telescope pupil and uses nearly all of the light coming into the aperture. For exoplanet characterization, PECO acquires narrow field images simultaneously in 16 spectral bands over wavelengths from 0.4 to 0.9 micron, utilizing all available photons for maximum wavefront sensing and sensitivity for imaging and spectroscopy. The optical design is optimized for simultaneous low- resolution spectral characterization of both planets and dust disks using a moderate-sized telescope. PECO will image the habitable zones of about 20 known F, G, K stars at a spectral resolution of R 15 with sensitivity sufficient to detect and characterize Earth-like planets and to map dust disks to within a fraction of our own zodiacal dust cloud brightness. PECO technologies are actively being developed and tested in laboratory testbeds. Some of these techniques also have interesting scientific potential for ground-based coronagraphic imaging systems.