Hunting planets and observing disks with the JWST NIRCam coronagraph

John E. Krist, Charles A. Beichman, John T. Trauger, Marcia J. Rieke, Steve Somerstein, Joseph J. Green, Scott D. Horner, John A. Stansberry, Fang Shi, Michael R. Meyer, Karl R. Stapelfeldt, Thomas L. Roellig

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The expected stable point spread function, wide field of view, and sensitivity of the NIRCam instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will allow a simple, classical Lyot coronagraph to detect warm Jovian-mass companions orbiting young stars within 150 pc as well as cool Jupiters around the nearest low-mass stars. The coronagraph can also be used to study protostellar and debris disks. At λ = 4.5 μm, where young planets are particularly bright relative to their stars, and at separations beyond ∼0.5 arcseconds, the low space background gives JWST significant advantages over ground-based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics. We discuss the scientific capabilities of the NIRCam coronagraph, describe the technical features of the instrument, and present end-to-end simulations of coronagraphic observations of planets and circumstellar disks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66930H
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2007
EventTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets III - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 28 2007Aug 30 2007


  • Circumstellar disks
  • Coronagraph
  • Extrasolar planets
  • James webb space telescope
  • NIRCam

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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