12 July 2008 Analysis of exoplanet light curves with the New Worlds Observer
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Abstract
The orbital light curve of a terrestrial exoplanet will likely contain valuable information about the surface and atmospheric features of the planet, both in its overall shape and hourly variations. We have constructed an empirically based code capable of simulating observations with a New Worlds Observatory of Earth from any orientation, at any time of year with continuously updated cloud and terrain coverage. By simulating these observations over a full orbital revolution we determine that the detection of liquid surface water is possible during crescent phases of planetary systems at high inclinations, while the detection of an obliquity / seasonal terrain change is possible at low inclinations. A New Worlds Observer can accurately determine the rotation rate of the planet more than 50% of the time given only 5 days of observations with a S/N of ~10.
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Phil Oakley, Webster Cash, Margaret Turnbull, "Analysis of exoplanet light curves with the New Worlds Observer", Proc. SPIE 7010, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter, 70103Y (12 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.789810; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.789810
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