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Paper: SPICA Coronagraph for the Direct Observation of Exo-Planets
Volume: 450, Molecules in the Atmospheres of Extrasolar Planets
Page: 181
Authors: Enya, K.; group, S. w.
Abstract: We present a mid-infrared coronagraph which targets the direct observation of exo-planets for the Space Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA). Study and experiment are ongoing for an coronagraph for SPICA, and this coronagraph is currently regarded as an option of the focal plane instruments. The primary target of the SPICA coronagraph is the direct imaging and spectroscopy of exo-planets in infrared. The SPICA mission gives us a unique opportunity for high-contrast observations, because of its large telescope aperture (3.5 m), the clean point-spread function provided by the monolithic telescope mirrors, and the capability for infrared observations from space. Laboratory experiments were performed with a visible laser to demonstrate the principles of the coronagraph. In an experiment using a binary-shaped pupil coronagraph, it was demonstrated that the contrast exceeded the requirement of SPICA, 10×10–6. A coronagraph obtained using a binary-shaped pupil mask is a baseline solution for SPICA because of its feasibility and robustness, while the use of a phase-induced amplitude apodization/binary-mask hybrid coronagraph is also considered as an option. Further developments are ongoing in order to realize a mid-infrared coronagraph for SPICA. Considering SPICA to be an essential platform for coronagraphic studies, and taking into account the progress of key technologies, we propose to develop a mid-infrared coronagraph instrument for SPICA and to perform the direct observation of exo-planets by using it.
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