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Putting gravity to work: Imaging of exoplanets with the solar gravitational lens

    The remarkable optical properties of the solar gravitational lens (SGL) include major brightness amplification (1011 on the optical axis, at a wavelength of 1μm) and extreme angular resolution (1010arcsec). A deep space mission equipped with a modest telescope and coronagraph, traveling to the focal area of the SGL that begins at 548 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun, offers an opportunity for direct megapixel imaging and high-resolution spectroscopy of a habitable Earth-like exoplanet. We present a basic overview of this intriguing opportunity.

    PACS: 04.20.−q, 04.25.Nx, 04.40.−b, 42.25.−p, 42.25.Fx, 42.30.Va


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