Simulating the earth-like exoplanet yield of the NASA LUVOIR 'A' architecture direct-imaging mission
Direct imaging of exoplanets will increasingly become a more popular method of exoplanet detection and characterization as larger space telescopes equipped with better technology and more ambitious scientific objectives are launched. Among other scientific objectives, NASA's Large UltraViolet/Optical/InfraRed Surveyor (LUVOIR) aims to detect and characterize exoplanets within 50 parsecs of the Sun, making the goal of direct exoplanet detection a reality. This paper describes simulations that predict that LUVOIR will detect 54 earth-like exoplanets within two years of a dedicated campaign. The simulation's detection criteria require that the exoplanet be visible within the working angle of the focal plane, be within the habitable zone, produce a signal-to-noise ratio greater than seven and a contrast ratio greater than 10-10 with respect to the parent star. We find that although it is possible to detect exoplanets around M dwarfs, they are not ideal targets due to their low brightness and luminosity. Although it could be included in future work, we have not produced a specific list of stars that LUVOIR could observe. Our approach determines the characteristics of stars that produce the highest completeness, which could lead to such a list in the future.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #233
- Pub Date:
- January 2019