Direct imaging of extra-solar planets from the ground using adaptive optics

David G. Sandler, J. R. Angel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The recent discoveries of Jupiter-mass planets around nearby stars by measurement of stellar reaction motion (Mayor et al., 1995; Marcy and Butler, 1996) may be viewed as the beginning of a new era for ground-based astronomy. The next step is to obtain direct images of giant planets around nearby stars. In this paper, we show that this goal can be met by using adaptive optics (AO) on the new large telescopes with very smooth primary mirrors. Detailed simulations of an advanced AO system show that a Jupiter twin at 10 pc can be detected at 5 standard deviations above the residual halo noise in a single night of observation. With Gatewood's recent discovery (Gatewood, 1996) of a Jupiter mass planet at 2.5 AU orbiting Lalande 21185, there is now a perfect target for the first application of the new technique. This and other nearby stars will be imaged in a survey planned for the new single-mirror 6.5 m MMT and its twin Magellan telescope in Chile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)0819422681
StatePublished - 1997
EventOptical Telescopes of Today and Tomorrow - Landskrona/Hven, Swed
Duration: May 29 1996May 29 1996

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherOptical Telescopes of Today and Tomorrow
CityLandskrona/Hven, Swed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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