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Astrophysics with microarcsecond accuracy astrometry

Show simple item record Unwin, Stephen C. 2015-07-14T18:03:53Z 2015-07-14T18:03:53Z 2008-09-29
dc.identifier.citation 59th International Astronautical Congress, Glasgow, Scotland, September 29 - October 3, 2008 en_US
dc.identifier.clearanceno 08-3142
dc.description.abstract Space-based astrometry promises to provide a powerful new tool for astrophysics. At a precision level of a few microarcsonds, a wide range of phenomena are opened up for study. In this paper we discuss the capabilities of the SIM Lite mission, the first space-based long-baseline optical interferometer, which will deliver parallaxes to 4 microarcsec. A companion paper in this volume will cover the development and operation of this instrument. At the level that SIM Lite will reach, better than 1 microarcsec in a single measurement, planets as small as one Earth can be detected around many dozen of the nearest stars. Not only can planet masses be definitely measured, but also the full orbital parameters determined, allowing study of system stability in multiple planet systems. This capability to survey our nearby stellar neighbors for terrestrial planets will be a unique contribution to our understanding of the local universe. SIM Lite will be able to tackle a wide range of interesting problems in stellar and Galactic astrophysics. By tracing the motions of stars in dwarf spheroidal galaxies orbiting our Milky Way, SIM Lite will probe the shape of the galactic potential history of the formation of the galaxy, and the nature of dark matter. Because it is flexibly scheduled, the instrument can dwell on faint targets, maintaining its full accuracy on objects as faint as V=19. This paper is a brief survey of the diverse problems in modern astrophysics that SIM Lite will be able to address. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2008 en_US
dc.subject SIM Science Team en_US
dc.subject Exoplanet en_US
dc.title Astrophysics with microarcsecond accuracy astrometry en_US
dc.type Preprint en_US

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