AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 82. Planning for Future Missions: Radio to X-Ray
Poster, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[82.07] The Eclipse Mission: A Direct Imaging Survey of Nearby Planetary Systems

J. Trauger, T. Hull, K. Stapelfeldt (JPL), D. Backman (Franklin and Marshall College), R. Bagwell (Xinetics), R.A. Brown (STScI), A. Burrows (U. Arizona), C. Burrows (MetaJiva), M. Ealey (Xinetics), S. Heap (GSFC), J. Kasdin (Princeton), J. Lunine (U. Arizona), G. Marcy (U. C. Berkeley), D. Redding, R. Sahai (JPL), D. Spergel (Princeton), W. Traub (CfA), B. Woodgate (GSFC)

Eclipse is a proposed Discovery-class mission to perform an imaging survey of nearby planetary systems, including a complete survey for jovian-sized planets orbiting 5 AU from all stars of spectral types A-K to distances of 15 pc. Eclipse is a coronagraphic space telescope concept designed for high-contrast visible wavelength imaging and spectrophotometry. Its optical design incorporates essential elements: a telescope with an unobscured aperture of 1.8 meters and optical surfaces optimized for smoothness at spatial frequencies critical , a coronagraphic camera for suppression of diffracted light, and precision active optical correction for suppression of light scattered by residual mirror surface irregularities. For reference, Eclipse is predicted to reduce diffracted and scattered starlight between 0.33 and 1.5 arcseconds from the star by at least three orders of magnitude compared to any HST instrument. The Eclipse mission offers precursor science explorations and critical technology validation in support of coronagraphic concepts for NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF). A baseline three-year science mission would provide a survey of the nearby stars accessible to TPF before the end of this decade, promising fundamental new insights into the nature and evolution of possibly diverse planetary systems associated with our Sun's nearest neighbors.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #4
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