Gemini Planet Imager: Preliminary Design Report

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For the first time in history, direct and indirect detection techniques have enabled the exploration of the environments of nearby stars on scales comparable to the size of our solar system. Precision Doppler measurements have led to the discovery of the first extrasolar planets, while high-contrast imaging has revealed new classes of objects including dusty circumstellar debris disks and brown dwarfs. The ability to recover spectrophotometry for a handful of transiting exoplanets through secondary-eclipse measurements has allowed us to begin to study exoplanets as individual entities rather than points on a mass/semi-major-axis diagram and led to new models of planetary ... continued below

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PDF-file: 375 pages; size: 17.3 Mbytes

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Macintosh, B May 10, 2007.

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Description

For the first time in history, direct and indirect detection techniques have enabled the exploration of the environments of nearby stars on scales comparable to the size of our solar system. Precision Doppler measurements have led to the discovery of the first extrasolar planets, while high-contrast imaging has revealed new classes of objects including dusty circumstellar debris disks and brown dwarfs. The ability to recover spectrophotometry for a handful of transiting exoplanets through secondary-eclipse measurements has allowed us to begin to study exoplanets as individual entities rather than points on a mass/semi-major-axis diagram and led to new models of planetary atmospheres and interiors, even though such measurements are only available at low SNR and for a handful of planets that are automatically those most modified by their parent star. These discoveries have galvanized public interest in science and technology and have led to profound new insights into the formation and evolution of planetary systems, and they have set the stage for the next steps--direct detection and characterization of extrasolar Jovian planets with instruments such as the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI). As discussed in Volume 1, the ability to directly detect Jovian planets opens up new regions of extrasolar planet phase space that in turn will inform our understanding of the processes through which these systems form, while near-IR spectra will advance our understanding of planetary physics. Studies of circumstellar debris disks using GPI's polarimetric mode will trace the presence of otherwise-invisible low-mass planets and measure the build-up and destruction of planetesimals. To accomplish the science mission of GPI will require a dedicated instrument capable of achieving contrast of 10{sup -7} or more. This is vastly better than that delivered by existing astronomical AO systems. Currently achievable contrast, about 10{sup -5} at separations of 1 arc second or larger, is completely limited by quasi-static wave front errors, so that contrast does not improve with integration times longer than about 1 minute. Using the rotation of the Earth to distinguish companions from artifacts or multiwavelength imaging improves this somewhat, but GPI will still need to surpass the performance of existing systems by one to two orders of magnitude--an improvement comparable to the transition from photographic plates to CCDs. This may sound daunting, but other areas of optical science have achieved similar breakthroughs, for example, the transition to nanometer-quality optics for extreme ultraviolet lithography, the development of MEMS wave front control devices, and the ultra-high contrast demonstrated by JPL's High Contrast Imaging Test-bed. In astronomy, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, long baseline radio interferometry, and multi-object spectrographs have led to improvements of similar or greater order of magnitude. GPI will be the first project to apply these revolutionary techniques to ground-based astronomy, with a systems engineering approach that studies the impact of every design decision on the key metric--final detectable planet contrast.

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PDF-file: 375 pages; size: 17.3 Mbytes

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  • Report No.: UCRL-TR-230900
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/923130 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 923130
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc899454

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • May 10, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2016, 6:25 p.m.

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Macintosh, B. Gemini Planet Imager: Preliminary Design Report, report, May 10, 2007; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc899454/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.