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Proceedings Paper

The exoplanet microlensing survey by the proposed WFIRST Observatory
Author(s): Richard Barry; Jeffery Kruk; Jay Anderson; Jean-Philippe Beaulieu; David P. Bennett; Joseph Catanzarite; Ed Cheng; Scott Gaudi; Neil Gehrels; Stephen Kane; Jonathan Lunine; Takahiro Sumi; Angelle Tanner; Wesley Traub
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Paper Abstract

The New Worlds, New Horizons report released by the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey Board in 2010 listed the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) as the highest-priority large space mission for the coming decade. This observatory will provide wide-field imaging and slitless spectroscopy at near infrared wavelengths. The scientific goals are to obtain a statistical census of exoplanets using gravitational microlensing, measure the expansion history of and the growth of structure in the Universe by multiple methods, and perform other astronomical surveys to be selected through a guest observer program. A Science Definition Team has been established to assist NASA in the development of a Design Reference Mission that accomplishes this diverse array of science programs with a single observatory. In this paper we present the current WFIRST payload concept and the expected capabilities for planet detection. The observatory, with science goals that are complimentary to the Kepler exoplanet transit mission, is designed to complete the statistical census of planetary systems in the Galaxy, from habitable Earth-mass planets to free floating planets, including analogs to all of the planets in our Solar System except Mercury. The exoplanet microlensing survey will observe for 500 days spanning 5 years. This long temporal baseline will enable the determination of the masses for most detected exoplanets down to 0.1 Earth masses.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 September 2011
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8151, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V, 81510L (15 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.898574
Show Author Affiliations
Richard Barry, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Jeffery Kruk, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Jay Anderson, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (France)
David P. Bennett, Univ. of Notre Dame (United States)
Joseph Catanzarite, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Ed Cheng, Conceptual Analytics (United States)
Scott Gaudi, Ohio State Univ. (United States)
Neil Gehrels, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Stephen Kane, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Jonathan Lunine, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Takahiro Sumi, Osaka Univ. (Japan)
Angelle Tanner, Mississippi State Univ. (United States)
Wesley Traub, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8151:
Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V
Stuart Shaklan, Editor(s)

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