Exoplanet Spectroscopy and Photometry with the Twinkle Space Telescope

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Billy Edwards, Malena Rice, Tiziano Zingales, Marcell Tessenyi, Ingo Waldmann, Giovanna Tinetti, Enzo Pascale, Giorgio Savini, Subhajit Sarkar

(Submitted on 20 Nov 2018)

The Twinkle space telescope has been designed for the characterisation of exoplanets and Solar System objects. Operating in a low Earth, Sun-synchronous orbit, Twinkle is equipped with a 45 cm telescope and visible (0.4 - 1μm) and infrared (1.3 - 4.5μm) spectrometers which can be operated simultaneously. Twinkle is a general observatory which will provide on-demand observations of a wide variety of targets within wavelength ranges that are currently not accessible using other space telescopes or accessible only to oversubscribed observatories in the short-term future. Here we explore the ability of Twinkle's spectrometers to characterise the currently-known exoplanets. We study the spectral resolution achievable by combining multiple observations for various planetary and stellar types. We also simulate spectral retrievals for some well-known planets (HD 209458 b, GJ 3470 b and 55 Cnc e). From the exoplanets known today, we find that with a single transit or eclipse, Twinkle could probe 89 planets at low spectral resolution (R < 20) as well as 12 planets at higher resolution (R > 20) in channel 1 (1.3 - 4.5μm). With 10 observations, the atmospheres of 144 planets could be characterised with R < 20 and 81 at higher resolutions. Upcoming surveys will reveal thousands of new exoplanets, many of which will be located within Twinkle's field of regard. TESS in particular is predicted to discover many targets around bright stars which will be suitable for follow-up observations. We include these anticipated planets and find that the number of planets Twinkle could observe in the near infrared in a single transit or eclipse increases to 558 for R > 20 and 41 at lower resolutions. By stacking 10 transits or eclipses, there are 1185 potential targets for study at R < 20 as well as 388 planets at higher resolutions.

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:1811.08348 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1811.08348v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Billy Edwards  

[v1] Tue, 20 Nov 2018 16:22:27 UTC (13,205 KB)

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