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The impact of exozodiacal dust on observations of Earth-like planets with a large future direct-imaging mission

Presentation #102.203 in the session Poster Session.

Published onJun 20, 2022
The impact of exozodiacal dust on observations of Earth-like planets with a large future direct-imaging mission

Future direct-imaging space missions such as LUVOIR or HabEx will enable the direct detection and atmospheric characterization of Earth-like exoplanets in the optical (0.3-1.0 microns). At the contrast level of such observations, virtually all exoplanetary systems are expected to show signatures of exozodiacal dust. We introduce a tool that can quickly simulate coronagraphic observations with LUVOIR based on astrophysical scenes from exoVista, that include the stellar speckle halo, potential planets, and a high-fidelity model of the exozodiacal dust. Using these simulations, we investigate different observation and post-processing techniques to subtract the diffuse starlight scattered off the exozodiacal dust disk. We quantify the contrast performance of a variety of methods to subtract the exozodi, including roll subtraction and disk modelling. Furthermore, we investigate how the leaked starlight and detector noise of a future EMCCD impacts these exozodi subtraction methods. Ultimately, our tool can be coupled with a yield prediction algorithm to simulate the actual execution of a future mission and explore real time decision-making metrics to maximize the yield of Earth-like exoplanets.

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