The determination of extrasolar planet masses with the radial velocity (RV) technique requires spectroscopic Doppler information from the planet's host star, which varies with stellar brightness and temperature. We analyze the Doppler information in spectra from dwarfs of spectral types F-M utilizing empirical information from HARPS and CARMENES data and model spectra. We revisit the question of whether optical or near-infrared instruments are more efficient for RV observations in low-mass stars, and we come to the conclusion that an optical setup (BVR bands) is more efficient than a near-infrared one (YJHK) in dwarf stars hotter than 3200 K. We publish a catalog of 46,480 well-studied F-M dwarfs in the solar neighborhood, and we compare its distribution to more than 1 million stars from Gaia DR2. For all stars, we estimate the RV photon noise achievable in typical observations under the assumption of no activity jitter and slow rotation. We find that with an ESPRESSO-like instrument at an 8 m telescope, a photon noise limit of 10 cm s-1 or lower can be reached in more than 280 stars in a 5 minute observation. At 4 m telescopes, a photon noise limit of 1 m s-1 can be reached in a 10 minute exposure in approximately 10,000 predominantly Sun-like stars with a HARPS-like (optical) instrument. The same applies to ∼3000 stars for a red optical setup that covers the R and I bands and ∼700 stars for a near-infrared instrument. For the latter two, many of the targets are nearby M dwarfs. Finally, we identify targets in which Earth-mass planets within the liquid water habitable zone can cause RV amplitudes comparable to the RV photon noise. Assuming the same exposure times as above, we find that an ESPRESSO-like instrument can reach this limit for 1 M⊕ planets in more than 1000 stars. The optical, red optical, and near-infrared configurations reach the limit for 2 M⊕ planets in approximately 500, 700, and 200 stars, respectively. An online tool is provided to estimate the RV photon noise as a function of stellar temperature and brightness and wavelength coverage.
The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
- Pub Date:
- March 2020
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- accepted for publication in ApJS