Performance of the hybrid externally occulted Lyot solar coronagraph
Application to ASPIICS
1 European Space Research and Technology Center, European Space Agency, Keplerlaan 1, 2201 Noordwijk, The Netherlands
2 Laboratoire Lagrange, Université Côte d’Azur, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Parc Valrose, 06108 Nice, France
Received: 6 July 2016
Accepted: 30 November 2016
Context. High-contrast hybrid coronagraphs, which combine an external occulter and a Lyot-style coronagraph became a reality in recent years, despite the lack of analytic and numerical end-to-end performance studies. The solar coronagraph ASPIICS which will fly on the future ESA Formation Flying mission Proba-3 is a good example of such a hybrid coronograph.
Aims. We aim to provide a numerical model to compute theoretical performance of the hybrid externally occulted Lyot-style coronagraph, which we then aim to compare to the performance of the classical Lyot coronagraph and the externally occulted solar coronagraph. We will provide the level and intensity distribution of the stray light, when the Sun is considered as an extended source. We also investigate the effect of different sizes for the internal occulter and Lyot stop.
Methods. First, we have built on a recently published approach, to express the diffracted wave front from Fresnel diffraction produced by an external occulter at the entrance aperture of the coronagraph. Second, we computed the coherent propagation of the wave front coming from a given point of the Sun through the instrument. This is performed in three steps: from the aperture to the image of the external occulter, where the internal occulter is set, from this plane to the image of the entrance aperture, where the Lyot stop is set, and from there to the final image plane. Making use of the axis-symmetry, we considered wave fronts originating from one radius of the Sun and we circularly average the intensities. Our numerical computation used the parameters of ASPIICS.
Results. The hybrid externally occulted Lyot coronagraph rejects sunlight below 10-8B⊙ from 1.3 R⊙ – in the particular configuration of ASPIICS. The Lyot coronagraph effectively complements the external occultation. We show that reducing the Lyot stop allows a clear gain in rejection, being even better than oversizing the internal occulter, that tends to exclude observations very close to the solar limb. As an illustration, we provide a graph that allows us to estimate performance as a function of the internal occulter and Lyot stop sizes.
Conclusions. Our work consists of a methodological approach to compute the end-to-end performance for solar coronagraph.
Key words: Sun: corona / instrumentation: high angular resolution / methods: analytical
© ESO, 2017