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Proceedings Paper

Atmospheric characterization of cold exoplanets with a 1.5-m space coronagraph
Author(s): Anne-Lise Maire; Raphaël Galicher; Anthony Boccaletti; Pierre Baudoz; Jean Schneider; Kerri Cahoy; Daphne Stam; Wesley Traub
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Paper Abstract

Several small space coronagraphs have been proposed to characterize cold exoplanets in reflected light. Studies have mainly focused on technical feasibility because of the huge star/planet flux ratio to achieve in the close-in stellar environment (108-1010 at 0.2"). However, the main interest of such instruments, the analysis of planet properties, has remained highly unexplored so far. We performed numerical simulations to assess the ability of a small space coronagraph to retrieve spectra of mature Jupiters, Neptunes and super-Earths under realistic assumptions. We describe our assumptions: exoplanetary atmosphere models, instrument numerical simulation and observing conditions. Then, we define a criterion and use it to determine the required exposure times to measure several planet parameters from their spectra (separation, metallicity, cloud and surface coverages) for particular cases. Finally, we attempt to define a parameter space of the potential targets. In the case of a solar-type star, we show that a small coronagraph can characterize the spectral properties of a 2-AU Jupiter up to 10 pc and the cloud and surface coverage of super-Earths in the habitable zone for a few stars within 4-5 pc. Potentially, SPICES could perform analysis of a hypothetical Earth-size planet around α Cen A and B.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 September 2012
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8442, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 84424G (21 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.925563
Show Author Affiliations
Anne-Lise Maire, LESIA, CNRS, Observatoire de Paris (France)
Raphaël Galicher, NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (Canada)
Anthony Boccaletti, LESIA, CNRS, Observatoire de Paris (France)
Pierre Baudoz, LESIA, CNRS, Observatoire de Paris (France)
Jean Schneider, LUTH, CNRS, Observatoire de Paris (France)
Kerri Cahoy, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Daphne Stam, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (Netherlands)
Wesley Traub, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8442:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Mark C. Clampin; Giovanni G. Fazio; Howard A. MacEwen; Jacobus M. Oschmann, Editor(s)

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