15 March 2018 TWINKLE: a low earth orbit visible and infrared exoplanet spectroscopy observatory
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Abstract
Twinkle is a space mission designed for visible and near-IR spectroscopic observations of extrasolar planets. Twinkle’s highly stable instrument will allow the photometric and spectroscopic observation of a wide range of planetary classes around different types of stars, with a focus on bright sources close to the ecliptic. The planets will be observed through transit and eclipse photometry and spectroscopy, as well as phase curves, eclipse mapping and multiple narrow-band time-series. The targets observed by Twinkle will be composed of known exoplanets mainly discovered by existing and upcoming ground surveys in our galaxy (e.g. WASP, HATNet, NGTS and radial velocity surveys) and will also feature new discoveries by space observatories (K2, GAIA, Cheops, TESS). Twinkle is a small satellite with a payload designed to perform high-quality astrophysical observations while adapting to the design of an existing Low Earth Orbit commercial satellite platform. The SSTL-300 bus, to be launched into a low- Earth sun-synchronous polar orbit by 2019, will carry a half-meter class telescope with two instruments (visible and near-IR spectrographs - between 0.4 and 4.5μm - with resolving power R~300 at the lower end of the wavelength scale) using mostly flight proven spacecraft systems designed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and a combination of high TRL instrumentation and a few lower TRL elements built by a consortium of UK institutes. The Twinkle design will enable the observation of the chemical composition and weather of at least 100 exoplanets in the Milky Way, including super-Earths (rocky planets 1-10 times the mass of Earth), Neptunes, sub-Neptunes and gas giants like Jupiter. It will also allow the follow-up photometric observations of 1000+ exoplanets in the visible and infrared, as well as observations of Solar system objects, bright stars and disks.
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G. Savini, G. Savini, M. Tessenyi, M. Tessenyi, G. Tinetti, G. Tinetti, C. Arena, C. Arena, J. Tennyson, J. Tennyson, T. Zingales, T. Zingales, En. Pascale, En. Pascale, R. Sudiwala, R. Sudiwala, A. Papageorgiou, A. Papageorgiou, S. Sarkar, S. Sarkar, P. A. R. Ade, P. A. R. Ade, M. J. Griffin, M. J. Griffin, K. Barnes, K. Barnes, L. Hipwood, L. Hipwood, P. Knowles, P. Knowles, M. Patel, M. Patel, M. Leese, M. Leese, J. P. Mason, J. P. Mason, M. Crook, M. Crook, I. Tosh, I. Tosh, A. Saad, A. Saad, P. Eccleston, P. Eccleston, B. Shaughnessy, B. Shaughnessy, T. Brooke, T. Brooke, M. Wells, M. Wells, I. Bryson, I. Bryson, A. Macleod, A. Macleod, W. Taylor, W. Taylor, N. Bezawada, N. Bezawada, G. S. Wright, G. S. Wright, S. Jason, S. Jason, J. Friend, J. Friend, J. Williams, J. Williams, G. Johnston, G. Johnston, S. Prasad, S. Prasad, A. Vora, A. Vora, C. Saunders, C. Saunders, B. Winter, B. Winter, P. Curry, P. Curry, A. Smith, A. Smith, } "TWINKLE: a low earth orbit visible and infrared exoplanet spectroscopy observatory", Proc. SPIE 9904, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 99044M (15 March 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2233691; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2233691
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