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Proceedings Paper

Finding Earth clones with SIM: the most promising near-term technique to detect, find masses for, and determine three-dimensional orbits of nearby habitable planets
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Paper Abstract

SIM is a space astrometric interferometer capable of better than one-microarcsecond ( as) single measurement accuracy, providing the capability to detect stellar "wobble" resulting from planets in orbit around nearby stars. While a search for exoplanets can be optimized in a variety of ways, a SIM five-year search optimized to detect Earth analogs (0.3 to 10 Earth masses) in the middle of the habitable zone (HZ) of nearby stars would yield the masses, without M*sin(i) ambiguity, and three-dimensional orbital parameters for planets around ~70 stars, including those in the HZ and further away from those same stars. With >200 known planets outside our solar system, astrophysical theorists have built numerical models of planet formation that match the distribution of Jovian planets discovered to date and those models predict that the number of terrestrial planets (< 10 M(+) ) would far exceed the number of more massive Jovian planets. Even so, not every star will have an Earth analog in the middle of its HZ. This paper describes the relationship between SIM and other planet detection methods, the SIM planet observing program, expected results, and the state of technical readiness for the SIM mission.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 September 2007
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6693, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets III, 66930C (19 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.734671
Show Author Affiliations
Michael Shao, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Stephen C. Unwin, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Charles Beichman, Michelson Science Ctr., California Institute of Technology (United States)
Joseph Catanzarite, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Stephen J. Edberg, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
James C. Marr, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Geoffrey Marcy, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6693:
Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets III
Daniel R. Coulter, Editor(s)

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