Abstract

We propose a novel method for the efficient direct detection of exoplanets from the ground using angular differential imaging. The method combines images appropriately, then uses the combined images jointly in a maximum-likelihood framework to estimate the position and intensity of potential planets orbiting the observed star. It takes into account the mixture of photon and detector noises and a positivity constraint on the planet’s intensity. A reasonable detection criterion is also proposed based on the computation of the noise propagation from the images to the estimated intensity of the potential planet. The implementation of this method is tested on simulated data that take into account static aberrations before and after the coronagraph, residual turbulence after adaptive optics correction, and noise.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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