Data analysis

The concept

Data analysis

We dealt with deconvolution. We accounted for noise. We know in principle how to reconstruct images projected by the gravitational lens. Unfortunately, we are not quite done yet.

The Solar Gravitation Lens projects an image that may be several kilometers wide. This large projection has to be scanned, pixel-by-pixel, by a spacecraft that, as it moves in the image plane, measures the intensity of the Einstein ring that it sees around the Sun.

However, the source of the light that forms the Einstein ring is not static. If it is a distant exoplanet, its appearance changes by the minute. The planet rotates around its axis. Its position relative to its host star changes, along with its illumination. It's like trying to take a picture of a feisty kitten that never sits still!

It is still possible to recover good quality images of the planetary surface, but we need to take into account its rotation and changing illumination. Here's an image from a software experiment that demonstrates how it can be done.


The journey »