Imaging & Spectroscopy

Detecting Planetary Mass Companions Near The Water Frost-line Using JWST Interferometry

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
November 21, 2022
Filed under , , , , , ,
Detecting Planetary Mass Companions Near The Water Frost-line Using JWST Interferometry
A plot showing the region (in green) in which the companion detection probability is summed over every grid point bounded by Mlim and S lim to rank the stars in the sample. The detection probability map is used as an example to show the overlap between itself and the green region, which is the average completeness map for the best 40 members in βPic. The Burn et al. (2021) synthetic planetary population is shown using brown circles, which is analogous to the Fulton et al. (2021) distribution. — astro-ph.EP

JWST promises to be the most versatile infrared observatory for the next two decades. The Near Infrared and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) instrument, when used in the Aperture Masking Interferometry (AMI) mode, will provide an unparalleled combination of angular resolution and sensitivity compared to any existing observatory at mid-infrared wavelengths.

Using simulated observations in conjunction with evolutionary models, we present the capability of this mode to image planetary mass companions around nearby stars at small orbital separations near the circumstellar water frost-line for members of the young, kinematic moving groups Beta Pictoris, TW Hydrae, as well as the Taurus-Auriga association.

We show that for appropriately chosen stars, JWST/NIRISS operating in the AMI mode can image sub-Jupiter companions near the water frost-lines with ~68% confidence. Among these, M-type stars are the most promising.

We also show that this JWST mode will improve the minimum inner working angle by as much as ~50% in most cases when compared to the survey results from the best ground-based exoplanet direct imaging facilities (e.g. VLT/SPHERE). We also discuss how the NIRISS/AMI mode will be especially powerful for the mid-infrared characterization of the numerous exoplanets expected to be revealed by Gaia.

When combined with dynamical masses from Gaia, such measurements will provide a much more robust characterization of the initial entropies of these young planets, thereby placing powerful constraints on their early thermal histories.

Shrishmoy Ray, Sasha Hinkley, Steph Sallum, Mariangela Bonavita, Vito Squicciarini, Aarynn L. Carter, Cecilia Lazzoni

Comments: 19 pages, 13 figures, Accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2211.09830 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2211.09830v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Shrishmoy Ray
[v1] Thu, 17 Nov 2022 19:00:11 UTC (7,583 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) 🖖🏻