Planetary and exoplanetary Astronomy Lunch Seminar (PALS) for 2021-05-10

Series: Planetary and exoplanetary Astronomy Lunch Seminar (PALS)
Date: Monday 10-May-2021
Time: 11:15-12:15
Location: Zoom
Speaker: Dana Louie (GSFC)
Title: Simulated Follow-up Observations of TESS Discoveries with JWST and Ground-based Multi-band Photometric Instruments

The approaching launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), coupled with the recent all-sky search of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), heralds a new era in exoplanetary atmospheric characterization, with TESS projected to detect over one thousand transiting exoplanets smaller than Neptune, and JWST offering unprecedented spectroscopic capabilities. In this talk, I will begin by providing background on the TESS mission and the TESS follow-up observing program (TFOP) as it relates to exoplanet discoveries. Next, I will discuss my recent work in simulating TESS follow-up observations. First, predictions show that TESS will detect thousands of astrophysical false positives that mimic exoplanet discoveries by also producing periodic decreases in starlight. A common scenario occurs when light from the target star blends with that of nearby eclipsing binary stars. Thus, TESS discoveries must be validated as true exoplanets using additional instruments or techniques. I designed software codes to predict how well two multi-band photometry instruments can discriminate between blended eclipsing binary false positives and true exoplanets. Second, I simulated JWST transmission spectroscopy observations of the anticipated TESS planet yield and compared the results to simulated transmission spectroscopy observations of already known exoplanets. My most significant finding is that several hundred TESS 1.5 to 2.5 Earth radii sub-Neptunes can be observed at higher signal-to-noise than currently known similarly-sized exoplanets. The large number of TESS planets amenable to atmospheric characterization in this radius regime will allow astronomers to investigate questions concerning exoplanet demographics, such as the origins of the so-called “Fulton gap.”

For further information contact PALS coordinator Dr. Lori Feaga at or (301)-405-1383.


Special accommodations for individuals with disabilities can be made by calling (301) 405-3001. It would be appreciated if we are notified at least one week in advance.


Directions and information about parking can be found here.

This page was automatically generated on: 05-May-2021.