Recognizing the Value of the Solar Gravitational Lens for Direct Multipixel Imaging and Spectroscopy of an Exoplanet

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Slava G. Turyshev, Michael Shao, Janice Shen, Hanying Zhou, Viktor T. Toth, Louis Friedman, Leon Alkalai, Nitin Arora, Darren D. Garber, Henry Helvajian, Thomas Heinsheimer, Siegfried W. Janson, Les Johnson, Jared R. Males, Roy Nakagawa, Seth Redfield, Nathan Strange, Mark R. Swain, David Van Buren, John L. West, Stacy Weinstein-Weiss
(Submitted on 12 Mar 2018)

The Solar Gravitational Lens (SGL) allows for major brightness amplification ($\sim 10^{11}$ at wavelength of $1~\mu$m) and extreme angular resolution ($\sim10^{-10}$ arcsec) within a narrow field of view. A meter-class telescope, with a modest coronagraph to block solar light with 1e-6 suppression placed in the focal area of the SGL, can image an exoplanet at a distance of 30 parsec with few kilometer-scale resolution on its surface. Notably, spectroscopic broadband SNR is $\sim 10^{-6}$ in two weeks of integration time, providing this instrument with incredible remote sensing capabilities. A mission capable of exploiting the remarkable optical properties of the SGL allows for direct high-resolution imaging/spectroscopy of a potentially habitable exoplanet. Such missions could allow exploration of exoplanets relying on the SGL capabilities decades, if not centuries, earlier than possible with other extant technologies.

Comments:    A White Paper to the National Academy of Sciences Committee on an Exoplanet Science Strategy Call for Papers. 6 pages, 3 figures
Subjects:    Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (gr-qc)
Cite as:    arXiv:1803.04319 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:1803.04319v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Slava G. Turyshev
[v1] Mon, 12 Mar 2018 15:42:07 GMT (2018kb)

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