Abstract

The final optical design of the Wide Angle Camera for the Rosetta mission to the P/Wirtanen comet is described. This camera is an F/5.6 telescope with a rather large 12° × 12° field of view. To satisfy the scientific requirements for spatial resolution, contrast capability, and spectral coverage, a two-mirror, off-axis, and unobstructed optical design, believed to be novel, has been adopted. This configuration has been simulated with a ray-tracing code, showing that theoretically more than 80% of the collimated beam energy falls within a single pixel (20″ × 20″) over the whole camera field of view and that the possible contrast ratio is smaller than 1/1000. Moreover, this novel optical design is rather simple from a mechanical point of view and is compact and relatively easy to align. All these characteristics make this type of camera rather flexible and also suitable for other space missions with similar performance requirements.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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