The 4-meter space telescope for investigating extrasolar Earth-like planets in starlight: TPF is HST2

Robert A. Brown, Christopher J. Burrows, Stefano Casertano, Mark Clampin, Dennis Ebbets, Eric B. Fords, Kenneth W. Jucks, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Steven Kilston, Marc J. Kuchner, Sara Seager, Alessandro Sozzetti, David N. Spergel, Wesley A. Traub, John T. Trauger, Edwin L. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Recent advances in deformable mirror technology for correcting wavefront errors and in pupil shapes and masks for coronagraphic suppression of diffracted starlight enable a powerful approach to detecting extrasolar planets in reflected (scattered) starlight at visible wavelengths. We discuss the planet-finding performance of Hubble-like telescopes using these technical advances. A telescope of aperture of at least 4 meters could accomplish the goals of the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) mission. The '4mTPF' detects an Earth around a Sun at five parsecs in about one hour of integration time. It finds molecular oxygen, ozone, water vapor, the 'red edge' of chlorophyll-containing land-plant leaves, and the total atmospheric column density - all in forty hours or less. The 4mTPF has a strong science program of discovery and characterization of extrasolar planets and planetary systems, including other worlds like Earth. With other astronomical instruments sharing the focal plane, the 4mTPF could also continue and expand the general program of astronomical research of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-107
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2002
EventFuture EUV/UV and Visible Space Astrophysics Missions and Instrumentation - Waikoloa, HI, United States
Duration: Aug 22 2002Aug 23 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Coronagraphs
  • Deformable mirrors
  • Extrasolar planet detection


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