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

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2022

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

Infrared space interferometers can surpass the spatial resolution limitations of single-dish space telescopes. However, stellar interferometers from space have not been realized because of technical difficulties. Two beams coming from individual satellites separated by more than a few tens of meters should precisely interfere such that the optical-path and angular differences between the two beams are reduced at the wavelength level. Herein, we propose a novel beam combiner for space interferometers that records the spectrally-resolved interferometric fringes using the densified pupil spectroscopic technique. As the detector plane is optically conjugated to a plane, on which the two beams interfere, we can directly measure the relative phase difference between the two beams. Additionally, when an object within 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., one exposure measurement), without scanning a delay line and chopping interferometry. We discovered that this spectral imaging method is validated for observing the solar system objects by simulating the reflected light from Europa with a small stellar interferometer. However, because the structure of the object spectrum may cause a systematic error in the measurement, this method may be limited in extracting the true complex amplitude for other astronomical objects. Applying this spectral imaging method to general astrophysics will facilitate further research. The beam combiner and spectral imaging method are applied to a formation-flying stellar interferometer with multiple small satellites in a Sun-synchronous orbit for observation of the solar system objects in visible and near-infrared. We present an overview of SEIRIOS and the optimized optical design for a limited-volume spacecraft.

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

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

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

Submission history

From: Taro Matsuo 

[v1] Tue, 18 Jan 2022 23:21:51 UTC (3,039 KB)

https://arxiv.org/abs/2201.07355

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