1 September 2017 Quantifying the impact of small statistics on planet detectability at small inner working angle
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Abstract
Mawet et. al.1 pointed out that at small inner working angle the detectability of planets can be significantly diminished due to small number statistics. We use this insight to develop a correction factor that can be applied to contrast curves to assess the impact of small sample statistics on planet detectability. This correction factor is independent of the coronagraph design. We use simulations of the PIAACMC design for WFIRST to assess the impact of small statistics on the detectability of a standard set of planets. We find that the impact depends strongly on the required detection significance threshold: while requiring the false positive fraction (FPF) corresponding to a 5σ detection threshold can reduce the number of detected planets by about half at very small inner working angles, requiring the FPF corresponding to a 3σ threshold reduces the number of detected planets by only about 15%. For current coronagraph designs, with somewhat larger inner working angles, the impact of small sample statistics is milder.
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Stephen T. Bryson, Ruslan Belikov, "Quantifying the impact of small statistics on planet detectability at small inner working angle", Proc. SPIE 10400, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VIII, 104001N (1 September 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2274581; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2274581
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