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Proceedings Paper

Analysis of planet effect of reference star on searching for Earth-like planets
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Paper Abstract

It is a challenging task to find exoplanets because of the huge contrast between star and planets in mass and in brightness. It is more challenging to determine the masses of exoplanets because it requires extremely high astrometric accuracy. In particular detection of Earth-like planets needs sub-microarcsecond (µas) precision which is possible only by narrow-angle astrometry via the SIM PlanetQuest mission. The narrow-angle observation mode of SIM PlanetQuest requires several distant reference stars, which are close enough in the sky around the target, typically within one degree. This paper provides statistical estimates of available reference stars for all candidate stars in searching for Earth-like planets. It is inevitable that some of reference stars will have binary components and planets. This paper describes the analysis techniques and various error estimates for binary jitters and planet effects of reference stars. Because of the limited number and duration of observations of SIM PlanetQuest, the Monte Carlo simulations indicate that certain long period planets around reference stars may not be detected. Earth-like planets around target stars, however, can be detected unambiguously. Finally, we demonstrate the current best estimates of instrument error, photon noise, reference stars planet disturbance, stellar jitters, etc., and conclude that the orbits of Earth-like planets with sub-μas astrometric signatures can be determined accurately by SIM PlanetQuest for nearby candidate stars.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 July 2008
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7013, Optical and Infrared Interferometry, 701353 (28 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.787167
Show Author Affiliations
Xiaopei Pan, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Michael Shao, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7013:
Optical and Infrared Interferometry
Markus Schöller; William C. Danchi; Françoise Delplancke, Editor(s)

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