A Framework for Prioritizing the TESS Planetary Candidates Most Amenable to Atmospheric Characterization

Kempton, Eliza M.-R.; Bean, Jacob L.; Louie, Dana R.; Deming, Drake; Koll, Daniel D. B.; Mansfield, Megan; Christiansen, Jessie L.; López-Morales, Mercedes; Swain, Mark R.; Zellem, Robert T.; Ballard, Sarah; Barclay, Thomas; Barstow, Joanna K.; Batalha, Natasha E.; Beatty, Thomas G.; Berta-Thompson, Zach; Birkby, Jayne; Buchhave, Lars A.; Charbonneau, David; Cowan, Nicolas B.; ... (2018). A Framework for Prioritizing the TESS Planetary Candidates Most Amenable to Atmospheric Characterization. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 130(993), p. 114401. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific 10.1088/1538-3873/aadf6f

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A key legacy of the recently launched TESS mission will be to provide the astronomical community with many of the best transiting exoplanet targets for atmospheric characterization. However, time is of the essence to take full advantage of this opportunity. JWST, although delayed, will still complete its nominal five year mission on a timeline that motivates rapid identification, confirmation, and mass measurement of the top atmospheric characterization targets from TESS. Beyond JWST, future dedicated missions for atmospheric studies such as ARIEL require the discovery and confirmation of several hundred additional sub-Jovian size planets (Rᵨ < 10 R⨁) orbiting bright stars, beyond those known today, to ensure a successful statistical census of exoplanet atmospheres. Ground-based ELTs will also contribute to surveying the atmospheres of the transiting planets discovered by TESS. Here we present a set of two straightforward analytic metrics, quantifying the expected signal-to-noise in transmission and thermal emission spectroscopy for a given planet, that will allow the top atmospheric characterization targets to be readily identified among the TESS planet candidates. Targets that meet our proposed threshold values for these metrics would be encouraged for rapid follow-up and confirmation via radial velocity mass measurements. Based on the catalog of simulated TESS detections by Sullivan et al. (2015), we determine appropriate cutoff values of the metrics, such that the TESS mission will ultimately yield a sample of ~300 high-quality atmospheric characterization targets across a range of planet size bins, extending down to Earth-size, potentially habitable worlds.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > NCCR PlanetS

UniBE Contributor:

Heng, Kevin


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
500 Science > 530 Physics




The Astronomical Society of the Pacific




Danielle Zemp

Date Deposited:

03 Jun 2019 13:10

Last Modified:

27 Oct 2019 00:25

Publisher DOI:






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