Error budgeting and tolerancing of starshades for exoplanet detection

Stuart B. Shaklan, M. Charley Noecker, Tiffany Glassman, Amy S. Lo, Philip J. Dumont, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Eric J. Cady, Robert Vanderbei, Peter R. Lawson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

23 Scopus citations


A flower-like starshade positioned between a star and a space telescope is an attractive option for blocking the starlight to reveal the faint reflected light of an orbiting Earth-like planet. Planet light passes around the petals and directly enters the telescope where it is seen along with a background of scattered light due to starshade imperfections. We list the major perturbations that are expected to impact the performance of a starshade system and show that independent models at NGAS and JPL yield nearly identical optical sensitivities. We give the major sensitivities in the image plane for a design consisting of a 34-m diameter starshade, and a 2-m diameter telescope separated by 39,000 km, operating between 0.25 and 0.55 um. These sensitivities include individual petal and global shape terms evaluated at the inner working angle. Following a discussion of the combination of individual perturbation terms, we then present an error budget that is consistent with detection of an Earth-like planet 26 magnitudes fainter than its host star.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010
Subtitle of host publicationOptical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
StatePublished - 2010
EventSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Jun 27 2010Jul 2 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Error budgets
  • Exoplanets
  • Starshades
  • Tolerancing


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