STScI Logo

Space Telescope Science Institute
The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) and the Search for Extra-Solar Planets

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) and the Search for Extra-Solar Planets

Dale P. Cruikshank
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field CA

Michael W. Werner
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA

SIRTF is an 85 cm cryogenic telescope (operated at 5.5 K) to be launched into a heliocentric orbit in 2001 or 2002, with a 2.5-year lifetime. Three instrument complexes will provide imaging, spectroscopic, and photometric capabilities from 4 to 160 µm wavelength. SIRTF will search for large planets around nearby stars, and will probe circumstellar dust complexes where planet formation is in progress. The majority of the time on SIRTF will be available to the astronomical community at large on a competitive basis, for individual research programs and for pursuit of legacy science projects currently being defined. This presentation will focus on SIRTF planet detection strategies and will provide an update on the technical aspects of the SIRTF instrumental capabilities.