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Open Access Publications from the University of California

New Cophasing and AO strategies for an extremely large telescope dedicated to extremely high contrast: The Colossus Project


Detecting an exoplanetary life signal is extremely challenging with current technology because it requires a sensitive telescope and instrument that can measure the planet's reflected optical and infrared light, while distinguishing this from the star's scattered light and the terrestrial thermal noise background. This requires highly accurate adaptive optics, a coronagraph system, and a specially designed and aligned giant telescope. We present here new strategies for building such a telescope with large circular segments using adaptive optics correction independently for each of these segments prior to cophasing the segments. The foreseen cophasing technique uses focal plane images that allow piston measurements and correction between all the segments. In this context we propose to derive the segment phase error using the inverse approach knowing the segment positions and the single aperture Airy function.

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