The proposed project from NASA aims to block the light of nearby stars in order to observe their orbiting exoplanets. The Exoplanets appear very close to their parent stars and the closest of stars are several light years away and therefore the angle is in the order of several tens of milli-arcseconds which are near impossible to resolve when observed at such astronomical distances. The project would involve a large occulter flying in a specified path so as to block the light of nearby stars so that observe the orbiting exoplanets becomes simpler. The starshade is designed to be tens of meters across and is proposed to be made out of Kapton, a lightweight material similar to Mylar. To date, only a handful of exoplanets have ever been photographed. The preliminary research on this project was headed by Webster Cash of The University of Colorado at Boulder in conjunction with Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Northrop Grumman, Southwest Research Institute and others.
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