HabEx space telescope optical system overview: General astrophysics instruments

Stefan Martin, Mayer Rud, Paul Scowen, Daniel Stern, Joel Nissen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


The HabEx (Habitable Exoplanet) concept study is defining a future space telescope with the primary mission of detecting and characterizing planetary systems around nearby stars. The telescope baseline design includes a high-contrast coronagraph and a starshade to enable the direct optical detection of exoplanets as close as 70 mas to their star. In addition to the study of exoplanets, HabEx carries two dedicated instruments for general astrophysics. The first instrument is a camera enabling imaging on a 3 arc minute field of view in two bands stretching from the UV at 150 nm to the near infrared at 1800 nm. The same instrument can also be operated as a multi-object spectrograph, with resolution of 2000. The second instrument is a high-resolution UV spectrograph operating from 300 nm down to 115 nm with up to 60,0000 resolution. HabEx would provide the highest resolution UV/optical images ever obtained. Diffraction limited at 0.4 μm, it would outperform all current and approved facilities, including the 30 m class ground-based extremely large telescopes (ELTs), which will achieve ∼0.01 arcsecond resolution at near-infrared (IR) wavelengths with adaptive optics, but will be seeing-limited at optical wavelengths. HabEx would observe wavelengths inaccessible from the ground, including the UV and in optical/near-IR atmospheric absorption bands. Operating at L2, far above the Earth's atmosphere and free from the large thermal swings inherent to HST's low-Earth orbit, HabEx would provide an ultra-stable platform that will enable science ranging from precision astrometry to the most sensitive weak lensing maps ever obtained. Here we discuss the design concepts of the general astrophysics optical instruments for the proposed observatory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018
Subtitle of host publicationOptical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
EditorsGiovanni G. Fazio, Howard A. MacEwen, Makenzie Lystrup
ISBN (Print)9781510619494
StatePublished - 2018
EventSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2018Jun 15 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • HabEx
  • Space telescope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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