Data processing for high-contrast imaging with the James Webb Space Telescope
The JamesWebb Space Telescope (JWST) will probe circumstellar environments at an unprecedented sensitivity. However, the performance of high-contrast imaging instruments is limited by the residual light from the star at close separations (<2-3"), where the incidence of exoplanets increases rapidly. There is currently no solution to get rid of the residual starlight down to the photon noise level at those separations, which may prevent some crucial discoveries. JWST's launch is planned for October 2021 with a planned baseline science mission lifetime of only five years. Thus, it is crucial to start developing a solution to this problem before its launch. We are investigating an innovative approach of post-processing built on a Bayesian framework that provides a more robust determination of faint astrophysical structures around a bright source. This approach uses a model of high-contrast imaging instrument that takes advantage of prior information, such as data from wavefront sensing (WFS) operations on JWST, to estimate simultaneously instrumental aberrations and the circumstellar environment. With this approach, our goal is to further improve the contrast gain over the contrast that can be achieved with JWST instruments, starting with NIRCam direct imaging and coronagraphic imaging. This work will pave the way for the future space-based high-contrast imaging instruments such as the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope_ Coronagraph Instrument (Roman CGI). This technique will be crucial to make the best use of the telemetry data that will be collected during the CGI operations.
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2020: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
- Pub Date:
- December 2020