15 September 2011 The exoplanet microlensing survey by the proposed WFIRST Observatory
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The New Worlds, New Horizons report released by the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey Board in 2010 listed the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) as the highest-priority large space mission for the coming decade. This observatory will provide wide-field imaging and slitless spectroscopy at near infrared wavelengths. The scientific goals are to obtain a statistical census of exoplanets using gravitational microlensing, measure the expansion history of and the growth of structure in the Universe by multiple methods, and perform other astronomical surveys to be selected through a guest observer program. A Science Definition Team has been established to assist NASA in the development of a Design Reference Mission that accomplishes this diverse array of science programs with a single observatory. In this paper we present the current WFIRST payload concept and the expected capabilities for planet detection. The observatory, with science goals that are complimentary to the Kepler exoplanet transit mission, is designed to complete the statistical census of planetary systems in the Galaxy, from habitable Earth-mass planets to free floating planets, including analogs to all of the planets in our Solar System except Mercury. The exoplanet microlensing survey will observe for 500 days spanning 5 years. This long temporal baseline will enable the determination of the masses for most detected exoplanets down to 0.1 Earth masses.
© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Richard Barry, Richard Barry, Jeffery Kruk, Jeffery Kruk, Jay Anderson, Jay Anderson, Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, David P. Bennett, David P. Bennett, Joseph Catanzarite, Joseph Catanzarite, Ed Cheng, Ed Cheng, Scott Gaudi, Scott Gaudi, Neil Gehrels, Neil Gehrels, Stephen Kane, Stephen Kane, Jonathan Lunine, Jonathan Lunine, Takahiro Sumi, Takahiro Sumi, Angelle Tanner, Angelle Tanner, Wesley Traub, Wesley Traub, "The exoplanet microlensing survey by the proposed WFIRST Observatory", Proc. SPIE 8151, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V, 81510L (15 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.898574; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.898574


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