TRAPPIST-1: Global Results of the Spitzer Exploration Science Program {Red Worlds}

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
June 24, 2020
Filed under
TRAPPIST-1: Global Results of the Spitzer Exploration Science Program {Red Worlds}

With more than 1000 hours of observation from Feb 2016 to Oct 2019, the Spitzer Exploration Program Red Worlds (ID: 13067, 13175 and 14223) exclusively targeted TRAPPIST-1, a nearby (12pc) ultracool dwarf star orbited by seven transiting Earth-sized planets, all well-suited for a detailed atmospheric characterization with the upcoming JWST.

In this paper, we present the global results of the project. We analyzed 88 new transits and combined them with 100 previously analyzed transits, for a total of 188 transits observed at 3.6 or 4.5 μm. We also analyzed 29 occultations (secondary eclipses) of planet b and eight occultations of planet c observed at 4.5 μm to constrain the brightness temperatures of their daysides. We identify several orphan transit-like structures in our Spitzer photometry, but all of them are of low significance. We do not confirm any new transiting planets.

We estimate for TRAPPIST-1 transit depth measurements mean noise floors of ∼35 and 25 ppm in channels 1 and 2 of Spitzer/IRAC, respectively. most of this noise floor is of instrumental origins and due to the large inter-pixel inhomogeneity of IRAC InSb arrays, and that the much better interpixel homogeneity of JWST instruments should result in noise floors as low as 10ppm, which is low enough to enable the atmospheric characterization of the planets by transit transmission spectroscopy. We construct updated broadband transmission spectra for all seven planets which show consistent transit depths between the two Spitzer channels. We identify and model five distinct high energy flares in the whole dataset, and discuss our results in the context of habitability. Finally, we fail to detect occultation signals of planets b and c at 4.5 μm, and can only set 3σ upper limits on their dayside brightness temperatures (611K for b 586K for c).

Elsa Ducrot, M. Gillon, L. Delrez, E. Agol, P. Rimmer, M. Turbet, M. N. Günther, B-O. Demory, A. H. M. J.Triaud, E. Bolmont, A. Burgasser, S. J. Carey, J. G. Ingalls, E. Jehin, J. Leconte, S. M. Lederer, D. Queloz, S. N. Raymond, F. Selsis, V. Van Grootel, J. de Wit
Comments: 50 pages, 21 figures. Accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201937392
Cite as: arXiv:2006.13826 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2006.13826v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Elsa Ducrot
[v1] Wed, 24 Jun 2020 15:59:01 UTC (9,901 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) 🖖🏻