Laser Guide Star for Large Segmented-aperture Space Telescopes. I. Implications for Terrestrial Exoplanet Detection and Observatory Stability

E. S. Douglas, J. R. Males, J. Clark, O. Guyon, J. Lumbres, W. Marlow, K. L. Cahoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Precision wavefront control on future segmented-aperture space telescopes presents significant challenges, particularly in the context of high-contrast exoplanet direct imaging. We present a new wavefront control architecture that translates the ground-based artificial guide star concept to space with a laser source on board a second spacecraft, formation flying within the telescope's field of view. We describe the motivating problem of mirror segment motion and develop wavefront sensing requirements as a function of guide star magnitude and segment motion power spectrum. Several sample cases with different values for transmitter power, pointing jitter, and wavelength are presented to illustrate the advantages and challenges of having a non-stellar-magnitude noise limited wavefront sensor for space telescopes. These notional designs allow increased control authority, potentially relaxing spacecraft stability requirements by two orders of magnitude and increasing terrestrial exoplanet discovery space by allowing high-contrast observations of stars of arbitrary brightness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number36
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume157
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Keywords

  • instrumentation: adaptive optics
  • instrumentation: high angular resolution
  • planets and satellites: detection
  • space vehicles: instruments
  • telescopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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