CHEOPS Performance for Exomoons: The Detectability of Exomoons by Using Optimal Decision Algorithm

Simon, A. E.; Szabo, Gy M.; Kiss, L. L.; Fortier, Andrea; Benz, Willy (2015). CHEOPS Performance for Exomoons: The Detectability of Exomoons by Using Optimal Decision Algorithm. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 127(956), pp. 1084-1095. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific 10.1086/683392

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Many attempts have already been made to detect exomoons around transiting exoplanets, but the first confirmed discovery is still pending. The experiences that have been gathered so far allow us to better optimize future space telescopes for this challenge already during the development phase. In this paper we focus on the forthcoming CHaraterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS), describing an optimized decision algorithm with step-by-step evaluation, and calculating the number of required transits for an exomoon detection for various planet moon configurations that can be observable by CHEOPS. We explore the most efficient way for such an observation to minimize the cost in observing time. Our study is based on PTV observations (photocentric transit timing variation) in simulated CHEOPS data, but the recipe does not depend on the actual detection method, and it can be substituted with, e.g., the photodynamical method for later applications. Using the current state-of-the-art level simulation of CHEOPS data we analyzed transit observation sets for different star planet moon configurations and performed a bootstrap analysis to determine their detection statistics. We have found that the detection limit is around an Earth-sized moon. In the case of favorable spatial configurations, systems with at least a large moon and a Neptune-sized planet, an 80% detection chance requires at least 5-6 transit observations on average. There is also a nonzero chance in the case of smaller moons, but the detection statistics deteriorate rapidly, while the necessary transit measurements increase quickly. After the CoRoT and Kepler spacecrafts, CHEOPS will be the next dedicated space telescope that will observe exoplanetary transits and characterize systems with known Doppler-planets. Although it has a smaller aperture than Kepler (the ratio of the mirror diameters is about 1/3) and is mounted with a CCD that is similar to Kepler's, it will observe brighter stars and operate with larger sampling rate; therefore, the detection limit for an exomoon can be the same as or better, which will make CHEOPS a competitive instruments in the quest for exomoons.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences > Theoretical Astrophysics and Planetary Science (TAPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Fortier, Andrea and Benz, Willy

Subjects:

500 Science > 530 Physics

ISSN:

0004-6280

Publisher:

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Language:

English

Submitter:

Katharina Weyeneth-Moser

Date Deposited:

17 May 2016 09:19

Last Modified:

01 Nov 2016 02:30

Publisher DOI:

10.1086/683392

Web of Science ID:

000363600100011

ArXiv ID:

1508.00321v1

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.81715

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/81715

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