Microarcsecond relative astrometry from the ground with a diffractive pupil

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The practical use of astrometry to detect exoplanets via the reflex motion of the parent star depends critically on the elimination of systematic floors in imaging systems. In the diffractive pupil technique proposed for space-based detection of exo-earths, extended diffraction spikes generated by a dotted primary mirror are referenced against a wide-field grid of background stars to calibrate changing optical distortion and achieve microarcsecond astrometric precision on bright targets (Guyon et al. 2010). We describe applications of this concept to ground-based uncrowded astrometry using a diffractive, monopupil telescope and a wide-field camera to image as many as {approx}4000 background reference ... continued below

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Ammons, S M; Bendek, E & Guyon, O September 8, 2011.

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The practical use of astrometry to detect exoplanets via the reflex motion of the parent star depends critically on the elimination of systematic floors in imaging systems. In the diffractive pupil technique proposed for space-based detection of exo-earths, extended diffraction spikes generated by a dotted primary mirror are referenced against a wide-field grid of background stars to calibrate changing optical distortion and achieve microarcsecond astrometric precision on bright targets (Guyon et al. 2010). We describe applications of this concept to ground-based uncrowded astrometry using a diffractive, monopupil telescope and a wide-field camera to image as many as {approx}4000 background reference stars. Final relative astrometric precision is limited by differential tip/tilt jitter caused by high altitude layers of turbulence. A diffractive 3-meter telescope is capable of reaching {approx}35 {micro}as relative astrometric error per coordinate perpendicular to the zenith vector in three hours on a bright target star (I < 10) in fields of moderate stellar density ({approx}40 stars arcmin{sup -2} with I < 23). Smaller diffractive apertures (D < 1 m) can achieve 100-200 {micro}as performance with the same stellar density and exposure time and a large telescope (6.5-10 m) could achieve as low as 10 {micro}as, nearly an order of magnitude better than current space-based facilities. The diffractive pupil enables the use of larger fields of view through calibration of changing optical distortion as well as brighter target stars (V < 6) by preventing star saturation. Permitting the sky to naturally roll to average signals over many thousands of pixels can mitigate the effects of detector imperfections.

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PDF-file: 11 pages; size: 1.2 Mbytes

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  • Presented at: SPIE Optics & Photonics, San Diego, CA, United States, Aug 21 - Aug 25, 2011

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  • Report No.: LLNL-PROC-498671
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1026475
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc845507

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  • September 8, 2011

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Nov. 29, 2016, 8:09 p.m.

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Ammons, S M; Bendek, E & Guyon, O. Microarcsecond relative astrometry from the ground with a diffractive pupil, article, September 8, 2011; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc845507/: accessed July 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.