AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 5 Visible/UV/IR Space Missions and Technology
Poster, Monday, January 10, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[5.19] The Eclipse Mission of Imaging of Nearby Planetary Systems: Concept and Laboratory Validation

J. Trauger (JPL), D. Backman (ARC), M. Brown (Caltech), R.A. Brown (STScI), A. Burrows (U. Arizona), C. Burrows (Metajiva), M. Ealey (Xinetics), D. Fischer (SFSU), C. Ftaclas (U. Hawaii), S. Heap (GSFC), T. Hull (Tinsley), J. Kasdin, M. Kuchner (Princeton), J. Lunine (U. Arizona), G. Marcy (UC Berkeley), R. Sahai (JPL), D. Spergel (Princeton), K. Stapelfeldt (JPL), W. Traub (CfA), B. Woodgate (GSFC)

Eclipse is a proposed Discovery mission for direct imaging of planetary systems orbiting nearby stars. The concept is an actively-corrected coronagraphic space telescope designed for high-contrast visible wavelength imaging and spectrophotometry. Eclipse imagery suppresses diffracted and scattered starlight in the field of view between 0.25 and 1.5 arcseconds from the star by at least three orders of magnitude compared to any HST instrument.

Contrast predictions are derived from computational models validated by laboratory experience. We review laboratory demonstrations of high contrast imaging and recent developments in the enabling technologies, including apodized coronagraphic masks, precision deformable mirrors, and wavefront sensing and control algorithms.

The Eclipse mission offers pioneering science observations and an opportunity to validate critical technologies in support of coronagraphic concepts for NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF). A baseline three-year science mission could provide a survey of the nearby stars accessible to TPF, promising fundamental new insights into the nature and evolution of diverse planetary systems associated with our Sun's nearest neighbors.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 5
© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.