The eclipse mission: A direct imaging survey of nearby planetary systems

John Trauger, Tony Hull, Karl Stapelfeldt, Dana Backman, Roger Bagwell, Robert A. Brown, Adam Burrows, Chris Burrows, Mark Ealey, Christ Ftaclas, Sara Heap, Jeremy Kasdin, Jonathan Lunine, Geoffrey Marcy, David Redding, Raghvendra Sahai, David Spergel, Wesley Traub, Bruce Woodgate

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Eclipse is a proposed Discovery-class mission to perform a sensitive imaging survey of nearby planetary systems, including a complete survey for Jupiter-sized planets orbiting 5 AU from all stars of spectral types A-K to distances of 15 pc. Eclipse is a coronagraphic space telescope concept designed for high-contrast visible wavelength imaging and spectrophotometry. Its optical design incorporates essential elements: a telescope with an unobscured aperture of 1.8 meters and optical surfaces optimized for smoothness at critical spatial frequencies, a coronagraphic camera for suppression of diffracted light, and precision active optical correction for suppression of light scattered by residual mirror surface irregularities. For reference. Eclipse is predicted to reduce diffracted and scattered starlight between 0.25 and 2.0 arcseconds from the star by at least three orders of magnitude compared to any HST instrument. The Eclipse mission offers precursor science explorations and critical technology validation in support of coronagraphic concepts for NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF). A baseline three-year science mission would provide a survey of the nearby stars accessible to TPF before the end of this decade, promising fundamental new insights into the nature and evolution of possibly diverse planetary systems associated with our Sun's nearest neighbors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-128
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
  • Planetary systems
  • Space astronomy


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