This paper briefly describes the powerful linkages between the Gaia and PLATO missions and the potential for WEAVE in the study of exoplanet populations, for instance through the proposed WxES survey. Gaia successfully launched in December 2013, and over the course of its nominal five year mission will discover, via their astrometric signatures, upwards of 20 000 massive Jupiter sized long period planets at distances out to several hundred parsecs around all star types. In addition Gaia will discover up to a thousand short period hot Jupiters around M stars. PLATO, to launch in 2024, will through precision photometry, observe in detail some million host stars, and will detect, via the transit technique, planets down to Earth masses. PLATO will observe two fields of over 2 000 square degrees for 2-3 years each. At least one of these will be in the northern hemisphere. WEAVE has the potential to provide detailed chemical characterization of the host stars of the Gaia and PLATO exoplanet systems. This will enable insights into, for instance, metallicity of the host star correlations against both massive exoplanets (perhaps confirming current relationships), and lower mass exoplanets. We note how the rapid exploitation of such a potential WEAVE survey could be achieved, utilizing the WEAVE processing systems being developed at the IoA, Cambridge, coupled with efficient interfaces to both Gaia and PLATO data products, that are also being generated at the IoA.
Multi-Object Spectroscopy in the Next Decade: Big Questions, Large Surveys, and Wide Fields
- Pub Date:
- October 2016