Sunday, December 20, 2015

A New Concept for Spectro-photometry of Exoplanets with Space-based Telescopes

A New Concept for Spectro-photometry of Exoplanets with Space-based Telescopes


Matsuo et al


We propose a new concept for spectral characterization of transiting exoplanets with future space-based telescopes. This concept, called as densified pupil spectroscopy, allows us to perform high, stable spectrophotometry against telescope pointing jitter and deformation of the primary mirror instead of not having imaging capability. This densified pupil spectrometer comprises the following three roles: division of a pupil into a number of sub-pupils, densification of each sub-pupil, and acquisition of the spectrum of each sub-pupil with a conventional spectrometer. Focusing on the fact that the divided and densified sub-pupil can be treated as a point source, we discovered that a simplified spectrometer allows us to acquire the spectra of the densified sub-pupils on the detector plane-an optical conjugate with the primary mirror-by putting the divided and densified sub-pupils on the entrance slit of the spectrometer. The acquired multiple spectra are not principally moved on the detector against the pointing jitter and the reliability of the observation result is also increased by statistically treating them. Our numerical calculations show that this method potentially suppresses the instrumental systematic error caused by the telescope pointing jitter down to the same level of photon noise as one-hour integration on a cryogenic telescope with a diameter of 2.5m at 10um. Because future cryogenic large telescopes such as the Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA) and the Cryogenic Aperture Large Infrared Space Observatory (CALISTO) will provide us with a thermally stable environment and a low background, they potentially present the first opportunity to characterize the thermal emissions from terrestrial planets.

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