Imaging extrasolar planets by Stellar Halo suppression in separately corrected color bands

Johanan L. Codona, Roger Angel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Extrasolar planets have not been imaged directly with existing ground or space telescopes because they are too faint to be seen against the halo of the nearby bright star. Most techniques being explored to suppress the halo are achromatic, with separate correction of diffraction and wave-front errors. Residual speckle structure may be subtracted by differencing images taken through narrowband filters, but photon noise remains and ultimately limits sensitivity. Here we describe two ways to take advantage of narrow bands to reduce speckle photon flux and to obtain better control of systematic errors. Multiple images are formed in separate color bands of 5%-10% bandwidth and recorded by coronagraphic interferometers equipped with active control of wave-front phase and/or amplitude. In one method, a single deformable pupil mirror is used to actively correct both diffraction and wave-front components of the halo. This yields good diffraction suppression for complex pupil obscuration, with high throughput over half the focal plane. In a second method, the coronagraphic interferometer is used as a second stage after conventional apodization. The halo from uncontrollable residual errors in the pupil mask or wave front is removed by destructive interference made directly at the detector focal plane with an "antihalo," synthesized by spatial light modulators in the reference arm of the interferometer. In this way very deep suppression may be achieved by control elements with greatly relaxed, and thus achievable, tolerances. In both examples, systematic errors are minimized because the planet imaging cameras themselves also provide the error-sensing data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L117-L120
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 II
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004


  • Instrumentation: adaptive optics
  • Planetary systems
  • Stars: imaging
  • Techniques: interferometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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