The TRAPPIST-1 JWST Community Initiative

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 13, 2020
Filed under
The TRAPPIST-1 JWST Community Initiative
TRAPPIST-1 planetary system

The upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) combined with the unique features of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system should enable the young field of exoplanetology to enter into the realm of temperate Earth-sized worlds.

Indeed, the proximity of the system (12pc) and the small size (0.12 Rsun) and luminosity (0.05 Lsun) of its host star should make the comparative atmospheric characterization of its seven transiting planets within reach of an ambitious JWST program. Given the limited lifetime of JWST, the ecliptic location of the star that limits its visibility to 100d per year, the large number of observational time required by this study, and the numerous observational and theoretical challenges awaiting it, its full success will critically depend on a large level of coordination between the involved teams and on the support of a large community.

In this context, we present here a community initiative aiming to develop a well-defined sequential structure for the study of the system with JWST and to coordinate on every aspect of its preparation and implementation, both on the observational (e.g. study of the instrumental limitations, data analysis techniques, complementary space-based and ground-based observations) and theoretical levels (e.g. model developments and comparison, retrieval techniques, inferences). Depending on the outcome of the first phase of JWST observations of the planets, this initiative could become the seed of a major JWST Legacy Program devoted to the study of TRAPPIST-1.

Michaël Gillon, Victoria Meadows, Eric Agol, Adam J. Burgasser, Drake Deming, René Doyon, Jonathan Fortney, Laura Kreidberg, James Owen, Franck Selsis, Julien de Wit, Jacob Lustig-Yaeger, Benjamin V. Rackham
(Submitted on 12 Feb 2020)

Comments: Comments and suggestions are welcome and can be addressed to [email protected] http URL. 23 pages, 8 figures
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2002.04798 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2002.04798v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Michael Gillon
[v1] Wed, 12 Feb 2020 05:03:46 UTC (1,288 KB)

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) 🖖🏻