Exoplanets & Exomoons

Exoplanetary Atmosphere Target Selection in the Era of Comparative Planetology

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 16, 2018
Filed under
Exoplanetary Atmosphere Target Selection in the Era of Comparative Planetology
Extrasolar planets

Large-scale transit surveys such as NGTS, TESS and PLATO promise to deliver a wealth of potential targets for follow-up transmission spectroscopy study.

This will usher in an era of comparative planetology that will be limited not by a paucity of targets but by the scarcity of follow-up assets on the ground and in space. It will become crucial to ensure that the selection of targets is matched carefully against the availability and capability of follow-up telescopes. We propose a metric-based target selection approach that relies only on primary transit observables. The metric can be easily deployed within a distributed heterogeneous network of telescopes equipped to undertake either broadband photometry or spectroscopy.

We show how the metric can be used either to optimise the observing strategy for a given telescope (e.g. choice of filter) or to enable the selection of the best telescope to optimise the overall sample size. The metric can also provide the basis for a selection function to help evaluate the statistical completeness of follow-up transmission spectroscopy datasets. Finally, we validate our metric by comparing its ranked set of targets against planets which have had their atmospheres successfully probed. We also compare the target list selected by our metric against some existing prioritised exoplanet lists.

J. Morgan, E. Kerins, S. Awiphan, I. McDonald, J. Hayes, S. Komonjinda, D. Mkritchian, N. Sanguansak
(Submitted on 15 Feb 2018)

Comments: 14 pages, 12 figures, 3 tables. Submitted to MNRAS
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1802.05645 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1802.05645v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Jake Morgan [view email]
[v1] Thu, 15 Feb 2018 16:37:05 GMT (3305kb,D)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻