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3 March 2003 High-contrast imaging with Gaussian-shaped pupils
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Gaussian aperture pupil masks can in theory achieve the contrast requisite for directly imaging an extrasolar planet. We outline the process of fabricating and testing a GAPM for use on the Penn State near-IR Imager and Spectrograph (PIRIS) at the Mt. Wilson 100" telescope. We find that the initial prototype observations are quite successful, achieving a contrast similar to a traditional Lyot coronagraph without blocking any light from a central object and useful for finding faint companions to nearby young solar analogues. In the lab we can reproduce the expected PSF to within an order of magnitude and with new designs achieve ~5×10-5 contrast at 10λ/D. We find that small inaccuracies in the mask fabrication process and insufficient correction of the atmosphere contribut ehe most degradation to contrast. Finally we compare the performance of GAPMs and Lyot coronagrphs of similar throughput.
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
John H. Debes, Jian Ge, Caylin Mandelowitz, and Anne Watson "High-contrast imaging with Gaussian-shaped pupils", Proc. SPIE 4860, High-Contrast Imaging for Exo-Planet Detection, (3 March 2003);

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