What type of planets might we measure with the Giant Magellan Telescope?

The detection of stars around planets other than our own Sun requires exquisite image quality to probe the small separation between planets and their host stars. Here at The Australian National University we are developing instrumentation for the next generations of Extremely Large Telescopes, which will use adaptive-optics to correct the image distortion from the Earth's atmosphere and deliver the necessary image sharpness. A limitation for such instruments is however the quality with which optical elements can be manufactured. In this project we will be using a simple computer simulation package in order to model the image quality we will achieve in our instrumentation and make some predictions about what type of planetary systems we will be able to find when the instrument goes to the telescope. The project will require programing work to glue together results from a clever analysis package already available. The results will inform design decisions for our instrument as its design evolves thought the year.

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