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Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment: a dedicated CubeSat mission to study exoplanetary mass loss and magnetic fields

Fleming, Brian T. and France, Kevin and Nell, Nicholas and Kohnert, Richard and Pool, Kelsey and Egan, Arika and Fossati, Luca and Koskinen, Tommi and Vidotto, Aline A. and Hoadley, Keri and Desert, Jean-Michel and Beasley, Matthew and Petit, Pascal M. (2018) Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment: a dedicated CubeSat mission to study exoplanetary mass loss and magnetic fields. Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems, 4 (1). Art. No. 014004. ISSN 2329-4124. doi:10.1117/1.JATIS.4.1.014004.

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The Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE) is a near-UV (2550 to 3300  Å) 6U CubeSat mission designed to monitor transiting hot Jupiters to quantify their atmospheric mass loss and magnetic fields. CUTE will probe both atomic (Mg and Fe) and molecular (OH) lines for evidence of enhanced transit absorption, and to search for evidence of early ingress due to bow shocks ahead of the planet’s orbital motion. As a dedicated mission, CUTE will observe ≳100 spectroscopic transits of hot Jupiters over a nominal 7-month mission. This represents the equivalent of <700 orbits of the only other instrument capable of these measurements, the Hubble Space Telescope. CUTE efficiently utilizes the available CubeSat volume by means of an innovative optical design to achieve a projected effective area of ∼28  cm^2, low instrumental background, and a spectral resolving power of R∼3000 over the primary science bandpass. These performance characteristics enable CUTE to discern transit depths between 0.1% and 1% in individual spectral absorption lines. We present the CUTE optical and mechanical design, a summary of the science motivation and expected results, and an overview of the projected fabrication, calibration, and launch timeline.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Fleming, Brian T.0000-0002-2129-0292
France, Kevin0000-0002-1002-3674
Fossati, Luca0000-0003-4426-9530
Hoadley, Keri0000-0002-8636-3309
Desert, Jean-Michel0000-0002-0875-8401
Additional Information:© 2018 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Paper 17087P received Oct. 12, 2017; accepted for publication Jan. 8, 2018; published online Feb. 6, 2018. The authors would like to thank Nu-Tek Precision Optics, Horiba Jobin-Yvon, and Blue Canyon Technologies for their helpful discussions during the design phase. This work was funded by a grant to the University of Colorado from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); Award no. NNX17AI84G.
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Subject Keywords:astronomy; atmospheres; planets; satellites; optical design; ultraviolet spectroscopy
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180425-165414746
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Official Citation:Brian T. Fleming, Kevin C. France, Nicholas Nell, Richard A. Kohnert, Kelsey Pool, Arika Egan, Luca Fossati, Tommi T. Koskinen, Aline A. Vidotto, Keri Hoadley, Jean-Michel Desert, Matthew Beasley, Pascal M. Petit, "Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment: a dedicated CubeSat mission to study exoplanetary mass loss and magnetic fields," J. Astron. Telesc. Instrum. Syst. 4(1) 014004 (6 February 2018)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:86048
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:27 Apr 2018 15:37
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:34

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