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Paper: PHASES: A Project to Perform Absolute Spectrophotometry from Space
Volume: 472, New Quests in Stellar Astrophysics III: A Panchromatic View of Solar-like Stars, With and Without Planets
Page: 291
Authors: del Burgo, C.; Vather, D.; Allende Prieto, C.; Murphy, N.
Abstract: This paper presents the current status of the opto-mechanical design of PHASES (Planet Hunting and AsteroSeismology Explorer Spectrophotometer), which is a project to develop a space-borne telescope to obtain absolute flux calibrated spectra of bright stars. The science payload is intended to be housed in a micro-satellite launched into a low-earth Sun-synchronous orbit with an inclination to the equator of 98.7° and a local time ascending node LTAN of 6:00 AM. PHASES will be able to measure micromagnitude photometric variations due to stellar oscillations/activity and planet/moon transits. It consists of a 20 cm aperture modified Baker telescope feeding two detectors: the tracking detector provides the fine telescope guidance system with a required pointing stability of 0.2″, and the science detector performs spectrophotometry in the wavelength range 370–960 nm with a resolving power between 200 and 900. The spectrograph is designed to provide 1% RMS flux calibrated spectra with signal-to-noise ratios > 100 for stars with V < 10 in short integration times. Our strategy to calibrate the system using A type stars is explained. From comparison with model atmospheres it would be possible to determine the stellar angular diameters with an uncertainty of approximately 0.5%. In the case of a star hosting a transiting planet it would be possible to derive its light curve, and then the planet to stellar radius ratio. Bright stars have high precision Hipparcos parallaxes and the expected level of accuracy for their fluxes will be propagated to the stellar radii, and more significantly to the planetary radii. The scientific drivers for PHASES give rise to some design challenges, which are particularly related to the opto-mechanics for extreme environmental conditions. The optical design has been developed with the primary goal of avoiding stray light reaching the science detector. Three different proposals for the opto-mechanical design are under investigation.
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