Science yield estimate with the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope coronagraph

Wesley A. Traub, James Breckinridge, Thomas P. Greene, Olivier Guyon, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Bruce Macintosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The coronagraph instrument (CGI) on the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope will directly image and spectrally characterize planets and circumstellar disks around nearby stars. Here we estimate the expected science yield of the CGI for known radial-velocity (RV) planets and potential circumstellar disks. The science return is estimated for three types of coronagraphs: the hybrid Lyot and shaped pupil are the currently planned designs, and the phase-induced amplitude apodizing complex mask coronagraph is the backup design. We compare the potential performance of each type for imaging as well as spectroscopy. We find that the RV targets can be imaged in sufficient numbers to produce substantial advances in the science of nearby exoplanets. To illustrate the potential for circumstellar disk detections, we estimate the brightness of zodiacal-type disks, which could be detected simultaneously during RV planet observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011020
JournalJournal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • coronagraphs
  • direct imaging
  • disks
  • exoplanets
  • spectra


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