We discuss the results of a multiwavelength differential imaging lab experiment with the High Contrast Imaging Testbed (HCIT) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The HCIT combines a Lyot coronagraph with a Xinetics deformable mirror in a vacuum environment to simulate a space telescope in order to test technologies and algorithms for a future exoplanet coronagraph mission. At present, ground-based telescopes have achieved significant attenuation of speckle noise using the technique of spectral differential imaging (SDI). We test whether ground-based SDI can be generalized to a nonsimultaneous spectral differential imaging technique (NSDI) for a space mission. In our lab experiment, a series of five filter images centered around the O2(A) absorption feature at 0.762 μm were acquired at nominal contrast values of 10-6, 10-7, 10-8, and 10-9. Outside the dark hole, single differences of images improve contrast by a factor of ∼6. Inside the dark hole, we found significant speckle chromatism as a function of wavelength offset from the nulling wavelength, leading to a contrast degradation by a factor of 7.2 across the entire ∼80 nm bandwidth. This effect likely stems from the chromatic behavior of the current occulter. New, less chromatic occulters are currently in development; we expect that these new occulters will resolve the speckle chromatism issue.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific|
|State||Published - Jul 2009|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science