29 August 2017 The Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE): a dedicated cubesat mission for the study of exoplanetary mass loss and magnetic fields
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Abstract
The Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE) is a near-UV (2550 - 3300 Å) 6U cubesat mission designed to monitor transiting hot Jupiters to quantify their atmospheric mass loss and magnetic fields. CUTE will probe both atomic (Mg and Fe) and molecular (OH) lines for evidence of enhanced transit absorption, and to search for evidence of early ingress due to bow shocks ahead of the planet’s orbital motion. As a dedicated mission, CUTE will observe ⪆ 60 spectroscopic transits of hot Jupiters over a nominal seven month mission. This represents the equivalent of > 700 orbits of the only other instrument capable of these measurements, the Hubble Space Telescope. CUTE efficiently utilizes the available cubesat volume by means of an innovative optical design to achieve a projected effective area of ∼ 22 cm2 , low instrumental background, and a spectral resolving power of R ∼ 3000 over the entire science bandpass. These performance characteristics enable CUTE to discern a transit depth of ⪅1% in individual spectral absorption lines. We present the CUTE optical and mechanical design, a summary of the science motivation and expected results, and an overview of the projected fabrication, calibration and launch timeline.
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Brian T. Fleming, Brian T. Fleming, Kevin France, Kevin France, Nicholas Nell, Nicholas Nell, Richard Kohnert, Richard Kohnert, Kelsey Pool, Kelsey Pool, Arika Egan, Arika Egan, Luca Fossati, Luca Fossati, Tommi Koskinen, Tommi Koskinen, Aline A. Vidotto, Aline A. Vidotto, Keri Hoadley, Keri Hoadley, Jean-Michel Desert, Jean-Michel Desert, Matthew Beasley, Matthew Beasley, Pascal Petit, Pascal Petit, } "The Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE): a dedicated cubesat mission for the study of exoplanetary mass loss and magnetic fields", Proc. SPIE 10397, UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XX, 103971A (29 August 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2276138; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2276138
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