Exploring New Worlds: Simulating Coronagraph Data for Exoplanet Detection

Author/​Artist
Samuels, Joshua [Browse]
Format
Senior thesis
Language
English
Description
119 pages

Details

Advisor(s)
Vanderbei, Robert [Browse]
Department
Princeton University. Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering [Browse]
Class year
2015
Summary note
Directly imaging Earth-like planets in other solar systems requires high-contrast photography able to detect signals as faint as 10\(^{−10}\) times the brightness of the parent star. Even with the required contrast, planets will be difficult to distinguish from exozodiacal background light and noise from imperfect optics. I simulate experimental data by propagating light waves from astrophysical sources through a coronagraph according to Fraunhofer diffraction theory while also modeling realistic speckle and background noise. I then use the simulations to evaluate principal component analysis as a technique for data processing and to improve PSF (point spread function) subtraction for planet detection.

Supplementary Information