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Title: Speckle movement by deformable mirror as exoplanet direct imaging technique
Authors: Murphree, Anna M.
Advisors: Young, Elizabeth J.
Keywords: URCAS;Student research;2018 Spring;Class of 2021;Physics, Department of
Issue Date: 27-Apr-2018
Abstract: The detection of exoplanets, planets in other solar systems, takes many forms. The most common method, observing the transit of exoplanets across their stars, effectively discovers planets close to their stars in edge-on systems. Once discovered, exoplanets may be characterized through direct imaging, allowing for their chemical makeup to be analyzed through spectroscopy and their habitability to be examined. This technique's main challenge is isolating the planet's light from the overwhelming light of the star. To achieve this, coronagraphs are used to redirect the star's light, allowing for planet detection. Atmospheric differences, temperature fluctuations, and imperfect optics cause dim star light in the image (called speckles) which hide the exoplanet's light among them. In this research, a deformable mirror is utilized to 'move' these speckles in order to identify the stationary exoplanets. The laboratory consists of a laser, which serves as the star's light; an optical setup, which fits the laser's size to the deformable mirror and camera; a deformable mirror with 140 actuators; and an astronomical camera. Initial work shows that these speckles may be manipulated using Zernike polynomials on the deformable mirror. Further research will explore more complex ways to deform the mirror and analyze the images taken.
Description: Presentation by Anna Muphree ('21) delivered at the Rhodes College Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium (URCAS).
Appears in Collections:Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium

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