Astronomy and Astrophysics | 2021

Catalogue of exoplanets accessible in reflected to the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. Population study and prospects for phase-curve measurements



Context. Reflected starlight measurements will open a new path in the characterization of directly imaged exoplanets. However, we still lack a population study of known targets amenable to this technique. Aims. Here, we investigate which of the about 4300 exoplanets confirmed to date are accessible to the Roman Space Telescope’s coronagraph (CGI) in reflected starlight at reference wavelengths λ=575, 730 and 825 nm. We carry out a population study and also address the prospects for phase-curve measurements. Methods. We used the NASA Exoplanet Archive as a reference for planet and star properties, and explored the impact of their uncertainties on the exoplanet’s detectability by applying statistical arguments. We define a planet as Roman-accessible on the basis of the instrument’s inner and outer working angles and its minimum planet-to-star constrast (IWA, OWA, Cmin). We adopt for these technical specifications three plausible configurations, labeled as pessimistic, intermediate and optimistic. Our key outputs for each exoplanet are its probability of being Roman-accessible (Paccess), the range of observable phase angles, the evolution of its equilibrium temperature, the number of days per orbit that it is accessible and its transit probability. Results. In the optimistic scenario, we find 26 Roman-accessible exoplanets with Paccess>25% and host stars brighter than V=7 mag. This population is biased towards planets more massive than Jupiter but also includes the super-Earths tau Cet e and f which orbit near their star’s habitable zone. A total of 13 planets are part of multiplanetary systems, 3 of them with known transiting companions, offering opportunities for contemporaneous atmospheric characterization. The intermediate and pessimistic scenarios yield 10 and 3 Roman-accessible exoplanets, respectively. We find that inclination estimates (e.g. with astrometry) are key for refining the detectability prospects. Conclusions. A science phase of the CGI has a remarkable potential to characterize the atmospheres of exoplanets that cannot be studied with other techniques.

Volume None
Pages None
DOI 10.1051/0004-6361/202039993
Language English
Journal Astronomy and Astrophysics

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