24 July 2014 Design of a nano-satellite demonstrator of an infrared imaging space interferometer: the HyperCube
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Abstract
The construction of a kilometer-baseline far infrared imaging interferometer is one of the big instrumental challenges for astronomical instrumentation in the coming decades. Recent proposals such as FIRI, SPIRIT, and PFI illustrate both science cases, from exo-planetary science to study of interstellar media and cosmology, and ideas for construction of such instruments, both in space and on the ground. An interesting option for an imaging multi-aperture interferometer with km baseline is the space-based hyper telescope (HT) where a giant, sparsely populated primary mirror is constituted of several free-flying satellites each carrying a mirror segment. All the segments point the same object and direct their part of the pupil towards a common focus where another satellite, containing recombiner optics and a detector unit, is located. In Labeyrie’s [1] original HT concept, perfect phasing of all the segments was assumed, allowing snap-shot imaging within a reduced field of view and coronagraphic extinction of the star. However, for a general purpose observatory, image reconstruction using closure phase a posteriori image reconstruction is possible as long as the pupil is fully non-redundant. Such reconstruction allows for much reduced alignment tolerances, since optical path length control is only required to within several tens of wavelengths, rather than within a fraction of a wavelength. In this paper we present preliminary studies for such an instrument and plans for building a miniature version to be flown on a nano satellite. A design for recombiner optics is proposed, including a scheme for exit pupil re-organization, is proposed, indicating the focal plane satellite in the case of a km-baseline interferometer could be contained within a 1m3 unit. Different options for realization of a miniature version are presented, including instruments for solar observations in the visible and the thermal infrared and giant planet observations in the visible, and an algorithm for design of optimal aperture layout based on least-squares minimization is described. A first experimental setup realized by master students is presented, where a 20mm baseline interferometer with 1mm apertures associated with a thermal infrared camera pointed the sun. The absence of fringes in this setup is discussed in terms of spatial spectrum analysis. Finally, we discuss requirements in terms of satellite pointing requirements for such a miniature interferometer.
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Kjetil Dohlen, Kjetil Dohlen, Sébastien Vives, Sébastien Vives, Eddy Rakotonimbahy, Eddy Rakotonimbahy, Tanmoy Sarkar, Tanmoy Sarkar, Tanzila Tasnim Ava, Tanzila Tasnim Ava, Nicola Baccichet, Nicola Baccichet, Giorgio Savini, Giorgio Savini, Bruce Swinyard, Bruce Swinyard, } "Design of a nano-satellite demonstrator of an infrared imaging space interferometer: the HyperCube", Proc. SPIE 9146, Optical and Infrared Interferometry IV, 914603 (24 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057226; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2057226
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