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Published October 23, 2018 | Submitted
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Standard FITS template for simulated astrophysical scenes with the WFIRST coronagraph


The science investigation teams (SITs) for the WFIRST coronagraphic instrument have begun studying the capabilities of the instrument to directly image reflected light off from exoplanets at contrasts down to contrasts of ~10^-9 with respect to the stellar flux. Detection of point sources at these high contrasts requires yield estimates and detailed modeling of the image of the planetary system as it propagates through the telescope optics. While the SITs might generate custom astrophysical scenes, the integrated model, propagated through the internal speckle field, is typically done at JPL. In this white paper, we present a standard file format to ensure a single distribution system between those who produce the raw astrophysical scenes, and JPL modelers who incorporate those scenes into their optical modeling. At its core, our custom file format uses FITS files, and incorporates standards on packaging astrophysical scenes. This includes spectral and astrometric information for planetary and stellar point sources, zodiacal light and extragalactic sources that may appear as contaminants. Adhering to such a uniform data distribution format is necessary, as it ensures seamless work flow between the SITs and modelers at JPL for the goals of understanding limits of the WFIRST coronagraphic instrument.

Additional Information

This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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Submitted - 1706.02749.pdf


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August 19, 2023
October 18, 2023