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A Framework for Prioritizing the TESS Planetary Candidates Most Amenable to Atmospheric Characterization

Kempton, Eliza M.-R. and Christiansen, Jessie L. (2018) A Framework for Prioritizing the TESS Planetary Candidates Most Amenable to Atmospheric Characterization. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 130 (993). Art. No. 114401. ISSN 0004-6280. doi:10.1088/1538-3873/aadf6f.

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A key legacy of the recently launched the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission will be to provide the astronomical community with many of the best transiting exoplanet targets for atmospheric characterization. However, time is of the essence to take full advantage of this opportunity. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), although delayed, will still complete its nominal five year mission on a timeline that motivates rapid identification, confirmation, and mass measurement of the top atmospheric characterization targets from TESS. Beyond JWST, future dedicated missions for atmospheric studies such as the Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (ARIEL) require the discovery and confirmation of several hundred additional sub-Jovian size planets (R_p < 10 R⊕) orbiting bright stars, beyond those known today, to ensure a successful statistical census of exoplanet atmospheres. Ground-based extremely large telescopes (ELTs) will also contribute to surveying the atmospheres of the transiting planets discovered by TESS. Here we present a set of two straightforward analytic metrics, quantifying the expected signal-to-noise in transmission and thermal emission spectroscopy for a given planet, that will allow the top atmospheric characterization targets to be readily identified among the TESS planet candidates. Targets that meet our proposed threshold values for these metrics would be encouraged for rapid follow-up and confirmation via radial velocity mass measurements. Based on the catalog of simulated TESS detections by Sullivan et al., we determine appropriate cutoff values of the metrics, such that the TESS mission will ultimately yield a sample of ~300 high-quality atmospheric characterization targets across a range of planet size bins, extending down to Earth-size, potentially habitable worlds.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Kempton, Eliza M.-R.0000-0002-1337-9051
Christiansen, Jessie L.0000-0002-8035-4778
Additional Information:© 2018 The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Received 2018 May 6; accepted 2018 September 6; published 2018 September 27. The work of E.M.-R.K. was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 1654295 and by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement through their Cottrell Scholar program. J.L.B. acknowledges support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and NASA through STScI grants GO-14792 and 14793. D.R.L. acknowledges support from NASA Headquarters under the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) Program—Grant NNX16AP52H. D. Deming acknowledges support from the TESS mission. Part of the research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. D.D.B.K. was supported by a James McDonnell Foundation postdoctoral fellowship. J.K.B. is supported by a Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellowship. T.B. and E.V.Q. are grateful for support from GSFC Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration (SEEC). D.C. acknowledges support from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of John Templeton Foundation. D. Dragomir acknowledges support provided by NASA through Hubble Fellowship grant HST-HF2-51372.001-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. N.N. was partly supported by JSPS KAKENHI grant Number JP18H01265 and JST PRESTO grant Number JPMJPR1775. E.L.S. acknowledges funding from NASA Habitable Worlds grant NNX16AB62G. C.v.E. acknowledges funding for the Stellar Astrophysics Centre, provided by The Danish National Research Foundation (Grant agreement no.: DNRF106).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
NASA Earth and Space Science FellowshipNNX16AP52H
James McDonnell FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Royal Astronomical SocietyUNSPECIFIED
GSFC Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration (SEEC)UNSPECIFIED
John Templeton FoundationUNSPECIFIED
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF2-51372.001-A
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)JP18H01265
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)JPMJPR1775
Danish National Research FoundationDNRF106
Subject Keywords:planets and satellites: atmospheres – planets and satellites: detection
Issue or Number:993
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180927-105537908
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Eliza M.-R. Kempton et al 2018 PASP 130 114401
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:89989
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Sep 2018 18:27
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 00:40

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