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Securing the Legacy of TESS through the Care and Maintenance of TESS Planet Ephemerides

Dragomir, Diana and Harris, Mallory and Pepper, Joshua and Barclay, Thomas and Villanueva, Steven, Jr. and Ricker, George R. and Vanderspek, Roland and Latham, David W. and Seager, S. and Winn, Joshua N. and Jenkins, Jon M. and Ciardi, David R. and Fűrész, Gábor and Henze, Christopher E. and Mireles, Ismael and Morgan, Edward H. and Quintana, Elisa V. and Ting, Eric B. and Yahalomi, Daniel (2020) Securing the Legacy of TESS through the Care and Maintenance of TESS Planet Ephemerides. Astronomical Journal, 159 (5). Art. No. 219. ISSN 1538-3881. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/ab845d.

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Much of the science from the exoplanets detected by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission relies on precisely predicted transit times that are needed for many follow-up characterization studies. We investigate ephemeris deterioration for simulated TESS planets and find that the ephemerides of 81% of those will have expired (i.e., 1σ mid-transit time uncertainties greater than 30 minutes) 1 yr after their TESS observations. We verify these results using a sample of TESS planet candidates as well. In particular, of the simulated planets that would be recommended as James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) targets by Kempton et al., ~80% will have mid-transit time uncertainties >30 minutes by the earliest time JWST would observe them. This rapid deterioration is driven primarily by the relatively short time baseline of TESS observations. We describe strategies for maintaining TESS ephemerides fresh through follow-up transit observations. We find that the longer the baseline between the TESS and the follow-up observations, the longer the ephemerides stay fresh, and that 51% of simulated primary mission TESS planets will require space-based observations. The recently approved extension to the TESS mission will rescue the ephemerides of most (though not all) primary mission planets, but the benefits of these new observations can only be reaped 2 yr after the primary mission observations. Moreover, the ephemerides of most primary mission TESS planets (as well as those newly discovered during the extended mission) will again have expired by the time future facilities such as the ELTs, Ariel, and the possible LUVOIR/Origins Space Telescope missions come online, unless maintenance follow-up observations are obtained.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Dragomir, Diana0000-0003-2313-467X
Pepper, Joshua0000-0002-3827-8417
Barclay, Thomas0000-0001-7139-2724
Villanueva, Steven, Jr.0000-0001-6213-8804
Ricker, George R.0000-0003-2058-6662
Vanderspek, Roland0000-0001-6763-6562
Latham, David W.0000-0001-9911-7388
Seager, S.0000-0002-6892-6948
Winn, Joshua N.0000-0002-4265-047X
Jenkins, Jon M.0000-0002-4715-9460
Ciardi, David R.0000-0002-5741-3047
Mireles, Ismael0000-0002-4510-2268
Morgan, Edward H.0000-0003-1447-6344
Ting, Eric B.0000-0002-8219-9505
Yahalomi, Daniel0000-0003-4755-584X
Additional Information:© 2020 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2019 June 5; revised 2020 March 23; accepted 2020 March 23; published 2020 April 21. This paper includes data collected by the TESS mission that are publicly available from the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). Funding for the TESS mission is provided by NASA's Science Mission directorate. We acknowledge the use of public TESS Alert data from pipelines at the TESS Science Office and TESS Science Processing Operations Center. Resources supporting this work were provided by the NASA High-End Computing (HEC) Program through the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at Ames Research Center for the production of the SPOC data products. J.P. acknowledges funding support from the NSF REU program under grant No. PHY-1359195. We thank the anonymous referee for feedback that has significantly improved the clarity of the paper. The authors thank Karen Collins, Chelsea Huang, Robert Zellem, Stephen Kane, Luke Bouma, Laura Kreidberg, Sam Quinn, Sam Hadden, and Jacob Bean for suggestions of figures and discussion points to make the paper useful to a wide range of observing interests. D.D. acknowledges support provided by NASA through Hubble Fellowship grant HSTHF2-51372.001-A awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., for NASA, under contract NAS5-26555. T.B. acknowledges support from the Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF2-51372.001-A
Sellers Exoplanet Environments CollaborationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Surveys ; Transits ; Ephemerides ; Exoplanets
Issue or Number:5
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Surveys (1671); Transits (1711); Ephemerides (464); Exoplanets (498)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200514-135410995
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Diana Dragomir et al 2020 AJ 159 219
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103206
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 May 2020 21:03
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:19

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