DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 7. Extra Solar Planets I
Oral, Chairs: R. V. Yelle and R. A. Brown, Tuesday, September 2, 2003, 3:30-5:30pm, DeAnza I-II

[Previous] | [Session 7] | [Next]

[7.08] On the 'Obscuration Completeness' of Direct Searches for Extrasolar Planets

R. A. Brown (Space Telescope Science Institute)

The completeness of extrasolar planet searches by direct imaging is reduced because the instrument obscures some possible planets. The glare of starlight--or an instrument feature designed to control it, such as a coronagraphic mask or an interferometric null--obscures planets occuring closer to the star than some minimum apparent separation. Some possible planets will never occur unobscured; some that are obscured at random epoch will become unobscured at a later time; some are never obscured. These aspects of 'obscuration completeness' must be analyzed and understood to optimize and compare instruments and observing programs proposed to discover extrasolar planets by direct imaging. This paper reports on the tradeoff between the size of the obscuration and the number of optimally-timed target observing revisits for the case of 'habitable zone' searches of 30 nearby stars achieving 95% obscuration completeness.

The Space Telescope Science Institute is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: rbrown@stsci.edu

[Previous] | [Session 7] | [Next]

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.