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Solar Contamination in Extreme-precision Radial-velocity Measurements: Deleterious Effects and Prospects for Mitigation

Roy, Arpita and Halverson, Samuel and Mahadevan, Suvrath and Stefansson, Gudmundur and Monson, Andrew and Logsdon, Sarah E. and Bender, Chad F. and Blake, Cullen H. and Golub, Eli and Gupta, Arvind and Jaehnig, Kurt P. and Kanodia, Shubham and Kaplan, Kyle and McElwain, Michael W. and Ninan, Joe P. and Rajagopal, Jayadev and Robertson, Paul and Schwab, Christian and Terrien, Ryan C. and Wang, Sharon Xuesong and Wolf, Marsha J. and Wright, Jason T. (2020) Solar Contamination in Extreme-precision Radial-velocity Measurements: Deleterious Effects and Prospects for Mitigation. Astronomical Journal, 159 (4). Art. No. 161. ISSN 1538-3881.

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Solar contamination, due to moonlight and atmospheric scattering of sunlight, can cause systematic errors in stellar radial velocity (RV) measurements that significantly detract from the ~10 cm s−1 sensitivity required for the detection and characterization of terrestrial exoplanets in or near habitable zones of Sun-like stars. The addition of low-level spectral contamination at variable effective velocity offsets introduces systematic noise when measuring velocities using classical mask-based or template-based cross-correlation techniques. Here we present simulations estimating the range of RV measurement error induced by uncorrected scattered sunlight contamination. We explore potential correction techniques, using both simultaneous spectrometer sky fibers and broadband imaging via coherent fiber imaging bundles, that could reliably reduce this source of error to below the photon-noise limit of typical stellar observations. We discuss the limitations of these simulations, the underlying assumptions, and mitigation mechanisms. We also present and discuss the components designed and built into the NEID (NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler spectroscopy) precision RV instrument for the WIYN 3.5 m telescope, to serve as an ongoing resource for the community to explore and evaluate correction techniques. We emphasize that while "bright time" has been traditionally adequate for RV science, the goal of 10 cm s−1 precision on the most interesting exoplanetary systems may necessitate access to darker skies for these next-generation instruments.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Roy, Arpita0000-0001-8127-5775
Halverson, Samuel0000-0003-1312-9391
Mahadevan, Suvrath0000-0001-9596-7983
Stefansson, Gudmundur0000-0001-7409-5688
Monson, Andrew0000-0002-0048-2586
Logsdon, Sarah E.0000-0002-9632-9382
Bender, Chad F.0000-0003-4384-7220
Blake, Cullen H.0000-0002-6096-1749
Kanodia, Shubham0000-0001-8401-4300
Kaplan, Kyle0000-0001-6909-3856
McElwain, Michael W.0000-0003-0241-8956
Ninan, Joe P.0000-0001-8720-5612
Robertson, Paul0000-0003-0149-9678
Schwab, Christian0000-0002-0091-7105
Terrien, Ryan C.0000-0002-4788-8858
Wang, Sharon Xuesong0000-0002-6937-9034
Wright, Jason T.0000-0001-6160-5888
Additional Information:© 2020 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2019 October 29; revised 2020 February 3; accepted 2020 February 18; published 2020 March 18. On-sky tests were conducted with the Planewave CDK 24'' Telescope operated by the Penn State Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at Davey Lab Observatory. NEID is funded by NASA through JPL by contract 1547612. This work was partially supported by funding from the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds. The Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds is supported by the Pennsylvania State University, the Eberly College of Science, and the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium. This work was performed by S.P.H. (in part) under contract with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) funded by NASA through the Sagan Fellowship Program executed by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute. This work was supported by NASA Headquarters under the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship Program through grant NNX16AO28H. This research has made use of NASA's Astrophysics Data System Bibliographic Services. Facility: DAVEY:0.6m. -
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Center for Exoplanets and Habitable WorldsUNSPECIFIED
Pennsylvania State UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Eberly College of ScienceUNSPECIFIED
Pennsylvania Space Grant ConsortiumUNSPECIFIED
NASA Earth and Space Science FellowshipNNX16AO28H
Subject Keywords:Exoplanet astronomy ; Radial velocity ; High resolution spectroscopy ; Sky brightness ; Astronomy data analysis
Issue or Number:4
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Exoplanet astronomy (486); Radial velocity (1332); High resolution spectroscopy (2096); Sky brightness (1462); Astronomy data analysis (1858)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200318-121354596
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Arpita Roy et al 2020 AJ 159 161
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101973
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Mar 2020 19:22
Last Modified:18 Mar 2020 19:22

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