"The Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph: Direct Imaging of
Extrasolar Earth-like Planets"

Speaker: Stuart Shaklan, PhD, Interferometry Engineering Group, Jet
Propulsion Laboratory

Sponsored by SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering
Organizer: Dan Ceperley, EECS Dept, ceperley@eecs.berkeley.edu


The goals of NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph (TPF-C) are to directly detect and characterize light reflected from extrasolar planets
orbiting nearby stars in the so-called habitable zone where liquid water can exist. This is an extremely challenging opto-mechanical problem because the planets will likely be 10 billion times fainter than the star, and just a few 10's of milli-arcseconds away. This requires pristine wave front control and extraordinary stability throughout the telescope and instruments. In the laboratory, we are closing in on this goal, having achieved a starlight suppression ratio better than 1 billion to one, just four resolution elements from the star. In this talk, I will describe several viable techniques for unveiling the planet, the laboratory experiments, the baseline mission design, and the integrated modeling approach and results.

student chapter's website:

Friday, Oct. 13, 2006
11am - Noon; *** PIZZA PROVIDED ***
521 Cory Hall (Hogan Room)