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See detailDiversity among other worlds: characterization of exoplanets by direct detection (Update of a White Paper submitted to the ESA ExoPlanet Roadmap Advisory Team)
Schneider, J.; Boccaletti, A.; Aylward, A. et al

Report (2008)

The physical characterization of exoplanets will require to take spectra at several orbital positions. For that purpose, a direct imaging capability is necessary. Direct imaging requires an efficient ... [more ▼]

The physical characterization of exoplanets will require to take spectra at several orbital positions. For that purpose, a direct imaging capability is necessary. Direct imaging requires an efficient stellar suppression mechanism, associated with an ultrasmooth telescope. We show that before future large space missions (interferometer, 4-8 m class coronograph, external occulter or Fresnel imager), direct imaging of giant planets and close-by super-Earth are at the cross-road of a high scientific interest and a reasonable feasibility. The scientific interest lies in the fact that super-Earths share common geophysical attributes with Earths. They already begin to be detected by radial velocity (RV) and, together with giant planets, they have a larger area than Earths, making them detectable with a 1.5-2 m class telescope in reflected light. We propose such a (space) telescope be a first step before large direct imaging missions. [less ▲]

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See detailDouble-blind test program for astrometric planet detection with Gaia
Casertano, S.; Lattanzi, M. G.; Sozzetti, A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2008), 482

Aims: The scope of this paper is twofold. First, it describes the simulation scenarios and the results of a large-scale, double-blind test campaign carried out to estimate the potential of Gaia for ... [more ▼]

Aims: The scope of this paper is twofold. First, it describes the simulation scenarios and the results of a large-scale, double-blind test campaign carried out to estimate the potential of Gaia for detecting and measuring planetary systems. The identified capabilities are then put in context by highlighting the unique contribution that the Gaia exoplanet discoveries will be able to bring to the science of extrasolar planets in the next decade. <BR />Methods: We use detailed simulations of the Gaia observations of synthetic planetary systems and develop and utilize independent software codes in double-blind mode to analyze the data, including statistical tools for planet detection and different algorithms for single and multiple Keplerian orbit fitting that use no a priori knowledge of the true orbital parameters of the systems. <BR />Results: 1) Planets with astrometric signatures α≃ 3 times the assumed single-measurement error σ_ψ and period P≤ 5 yr can be detected reliably and consistently, with a very small number of false positives. 2) At twice the detection limit, uncertainties in orbital parameters and masses are typically 15-20%. 3) Over 70% of two-planet systems with well-separated periods in the range 0.2≤ P≤ 9 yr, astrometric signal-to-noise ratio 2≤α/σ_ψ≤ 50, and eccentricity e≤ 0.6 are correctly identified. 4) Favorable orbital configurations (both planets with P≤ 4 yr and α/σ_ψ≥ 10, redundancy over a factor of 2 in the number of observations) have orbital elements measured to better than 10% accuracy > 90% of the time, and the value of the mutual inclination angle i_rel determined with uncertainties ≤ 10°. 5) Finally, nominal uncertainties obtained from the fitting procedures are a good estimate of the actual errors in the orbit reconstruction. Extrapolating from the present-day statistical properties of the exoplanet sample, the results imply that a Gaia with σ_ψ = 8 μas, in its unbiased and complete magnitude-limited census of planetary systems, will discover and measure several thousands of giant planets out to 3-4 AUs from stars within 200 pc, and will characterize hundreds of multiple-planet systems, including meaningful coplanarity tests. Finally, we put Gaia's planet discovery potential into context, identifying several areas of planetary-system science (statistical properties and correlations, comparisons with predictions from theoretical models of formation and evolution, interpretation of direct detections) in which Gaia can be expected, on the basis of our results, to have a relevant impact, when combined with data coming from other ongoing and future planet search programs. [less ▲]

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See detailDetection and Characterization of Extra-Solar Planets with Gaia
Lattanzi, M. G.; Casertano, S.; Jancart, Sylvie ULg et al

in O'Flaherty, K.S.; Perryman, M.A.C (Eds.) The Three-Dimensional Universe with Gaia (2005, January 01)

The scope of this paper is twofold. First, it describes the simulation scenario and the results of the large scale double-blind test campaign set-up by the Planetary System Working Group for the realistic ... [more ▼]

The scope of this paper is twofold. First, it describes the simulation scenario and the results of the large scale double-blind test campaign set-up by the Planetary System Working Group for the realistic simulation of the Gaia capabilities in detecting extra-solar planets. Present limitations and envisaged future improvements are also discussed. Then, the identified capabilities are put in context by highlighting the unique contributions that the Gaia exo-planet discoveries will be able to bring to the science of extra-solar systems of the next decade. [less ▲]

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