Detection of Extra-Solar System Planets
Stimulated by a proposal of Wm. Hayden Smith and co-workers to detect planets on nearby stars by high resolution imaging, we speculate on the appropriate data analysis method, making use of probability theory to perform the optimal deconvolution of the point-spread function.
In this preliminary study, we seek to understand what probability theory has to say about the fundamental problem, by analyzing a simple one-dimensional version. The necessary theoretical principles are developed in the thesis of G.L. Bretthorst (Washington University, May 1987).
Our main message is this: once one is committed to using a computer to analyze the data, the high-resolution imaging problem is completely changed. What one has tried to do in the past by fancy optical and mechanical engineering (apodizing, image stabilizing) can be done better, and at a small fraction of the cost, by the computer.
KeywordsNuisance Parameter Maximum Entropy Method Michelson Interferometer Data Analysis Procedure Smeared Image
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