High spatial resolution spectral imaging method for space interferometers and its application to small satellites flying in formation

Status report of: Electronic Printing Archives arXiv.org
Posted: Thursday January 20th 2022

Taro Matsuo, Satoshi Ikari, Hirotaka Kondo, Sho Ishiwata, Shinichi Nakasuka, Tomoyasu Yamamuro

Infrared space interferometers can exceed the spatial resolution limits of single-antenna space telescopes. However, stellar interferometers from space have not been realized due to technical difficulties. Two beams from individual satellites separated by more than a few tens of meters must interfere precisely so that the differences in optical path and angle between the two beams are reduced at the wavelength level. Here, we propose a novel beam combiner for spatial interferometers that records spectrally resolved interferometric fringes using the densified pupil spectroscopic technique. Since the plane of the detector is optically conjugated to a plane on which the two beams interfere, the relative phase difference between the two beams can be directly measured. Additionally, when an object in the field of view is obtained with a modest signal-to-noise ratio, we can extract the true complex amplitude from a continuous broadband fringe (i.e. an exposure measurement) , without sweeping a delay line and chopping the interferometry. We found that this spectral imaging method is validated for observing solar system objects by simulating reflected light from Europa with a small stellar interferometer. However, since the structure of the object’s spectrum can cause systematic error in the measurement, this method may be limited in extracting the true complex amplitude for other astronomical objects. Application of this spectral imaging method to general astrophysics will facilitate further research. The beam combiner and spectral imaging method are applied to a stellar interferometer flying in formation with several small satellites in a sun-synchronous orbit for the observation of solar system objects in the visible and near infrared. We present an overview of SEIRIOS and the optimized optical design for a volume-limited spacecraft.

Comments: Accepted for publication in JATIS, 44 pages, 10 figures

Topics: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Terrestrial and planetary astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Quote as follows: arXiv:2201.07355 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2201.07355v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)

Submission history

By: Taro Matsuo

[v1] Tue Jan 18 2022 11:21:51 PM UTC (3039 KB)


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