Searching for Terrestrial Planets Orbiting in the Habitable Zone of Ultra-Cool Stars and Brown Dwarfs

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013


We propose to use Kepler in 2-wheel mode to conduct a detailed search for Earth-sized planets orbiting ultra-cool stars and brown dwarfs (spectral types from M7 to L3). This population of objects presents several advantages for exoplanet surveys. 

First, ultra-cool stars and brown dwarfs are small and thus result in favorable planet-to-star area ratios. 

Second, because of their low effective temperature, the inner edge of their habitable zone is extremely close (2 to 3 days only). 

Third, our targets are bright at infrared wavelengths, which will enable detailed follow-up studies. Our program therefore represents a unique opportunity to find a transiting Earth-size exoplanet for which atmospheric features (including biosignatures) could be detected with near-to-come facilities such as JWST. Such exoplanet has not been discovered yet. Kepler in 2-wheel mode provides the required stability and photometric precision to make this survey successful. 

Our initial target sample includes 60 ultra-cool stars and brown dwarfs from which we expect to detect at least one transiting planet. We propose to monitor each source for 4 days, resulting in a total program duration of ~240 days.

Brice-Olivier Demory, Sara Seager, Jack Lissauer, Gregory Laughlin, Daniel Huber, Matthew Payne, Amaury Triaud, Michael Gillon, Julien de Wit, Andras Zsom, Vlada Stamenkovic, Franck Selsis, Jeremy Leconte, Didier Queloz (Submitted on 4 Sep 2013)

Comments: White paper submitted in response to the Kepler Science Office's Call for White Papers published at this http URL

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:1309.1078 [astro-ph.EP]   (or arXiv:1309.1078v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)


Submission history From: Brice-Olivier Demory [v1] Wed, 4 Sep 2013 15:47:38 GMT (55kb)

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