AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 46. Space Interferometry Mission
Display, Thursday, January 13, 2000, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

[Previous] | [Session 46] | [Next]

[46.02] An Introduction to Astrometry with the Space Interferometry Mission

S. C. Unwin (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology)

This poster is intended as an introduction to a series of posters on the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM). This series features the science objectives, selection of target stars, instrument operation, and astrometric data analysis.

SIM is NASA's first space-based long-baseline interferometer designed for precision astrometry. SIM will extend the reach of precision astrometry to cover the entire Galaxy, and will address a diverse set of topics in stellar astrophysics and Galactic astronomy. It will be an extraordinary tool for discovering planets, allowing searches for planets with masses as small as a few Earth masses around the nearest stars. Its single-measurement accuracy will be 1 microarcsecond, relative to local reference stars. Through detection of the astrometric reflex motion the orbit inclination, and hence unambiguous masses, will be measured for the planets it detects. The 10-m SIM Michelson interferometer will be launched into an Earth-trailing orbit in 2006, and will observe for 5 years. SIM will also serve as a technology pathfinder for future astrophysics missions, including the Terrestrial Planet Finder.

With a design accuracy of 4 microarcseconds in absolute position for stars as faint as 20 magnitude, SIM will provide a definitive calibration of stellar distance and luminosities, most notably the Cepheids, RR Lyraes and globular clusters. Using samples of stars in the Galactic disk and the halo as tracers, SIM will address a variety of questions relating to the formation and dynamics of the Galaxy.

NASA expects to release in January 2000 an Announcement of Opportunity to participate in the SIM Science Team. Further information on SIM will be available at the SIM exhibit. This work was performed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://sim.jpl.nasa.gov/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: fringes@huey.jpl.nasa.gov

[Previous] | [Session 46] | [Next]