28 August 2014 Measurements of incoherent light and background structure at exo-Earth detection levels in the High Contrast Imaging Testbed
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Abstract
A major component of the estimation and correction of starlight at very high contrasts is the creation of a dark hole: a region in the vicinity of the core of the stellar point spread function (PSF) where speckles in the PSF wings have been greatly attenuated, up to a factor of 1010 for the imaging of terrestrial exoplanets. At these very high contrasts, removing these speckles requires distinguishing between light from the stellar PSF scattered by instrument imperfections, which may be partially corrected across a broad band using deformable mirrors in the system, from light from other sources which generally may not. These other sources may be external or internal to the instrument (e.g. planets, exozodiacal light), but in either case, their distinguishing characteristic is their inability to interfere coherently with the PSF. In the following we discuss the estimation, structure, and expected origin of this incoherent" signal, primarily in the context of a series of experiments made with a linear band-limited mask in Jan-Mar 2013. We find that the incoherent" signal at moderate contrasts is largely estimation error of the coherent signal, while at very high contrasts it represents a true floor which is stable over week-timescales.
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Eric Cady, Eric Cady, Stuart Shaklan, Stuart Shaklan, } "Measurements of incoherent light and background structure at exo-Earth detection levels in the High Contrast Imaging Testbed", Proc. SPIE 9143, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2014: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 914338 (28 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2055271; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2055271
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