PIA20902: Small-scale Starshade Test
 Product Size:  1200 x 801 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Northrup Grumman 
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A test of a small-scale starshade model (58 cm), made from metal, in a dry lake bed in central Nevada's Smith Creek, took place from May to June 2014. Nineteen different versions of the miniaturized starshade were tested over five days. The tests revealed that a starshade, or external occulter, is capable of blocking starlight to a degree that reveals the relatively dim reflected light of a planet next to its brighter star. Like holding your hand up to block sunlight, the starshade works to block excessive starlight from the "eyes" of a space telescope like Hubble.

Starlight-blocking technologies such as the starshade are being developed to help image exoplanets, with a focus on Earth-sized, habitable worlds. To learn more about these technologies, visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6454.

Image Credit:
NASA/Northrop Grumman Corporation

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