Status Report

Community Involvement in the WFIRST Exoplanet Microlensing Survey

By SpaceRef Editor
August 6, 2019
Filed under , ,

David P. Bennett, Rachel Akeson, Thomas Barclay, Jean-Phillipe Beaulieu, Aparna Bhattacharya, Padi Boyd, Valerio Bozza, Geoffrey Bryden, Sebastiano Calchi Novati, Knicole Colon, B. Scott Gaudi, Calen B. Henderson, Yuki Hirao, Savannah Jacklin, Naoki Koshimoto, Jessica Lu, Matthew Penny, Radek Poleski, Elisa Quintana, Clement Ranc, Kailash C. Sahu, Rachel Street, Takahiro Sumi, Daisuke Suzuki, Jennifer Yee

(Submitted on 1 Aug 2019)

WFIRST is NASA’s first flagship mission with pre-defined core science programs to study dark energy and perform a statistical census of wide orbit exoplanets with a gravitational microlensing survey. Together, these programs are expected to use more than half of the prime mission observing time. Previously, only smaller, PI-led missions have had core programs that used such a large fraction of the observing time, and in many cases, the data from these PI-led missions was reserved for the PI’s science team for a proprietary period that allowed the PI’s team to make most of the major discoveries from the data. Such a procedure is not appropriate for a flagship mission, which should provide science opportunities to the entire astronomy community. For this reason, there will be no proprietary period for WFIRST data, but we argue that a larger effort to make WFIRST science accessible to the astronomy community is needed. We propose a plan to enhance community involvement in the WFIRST exoplanet microlensing survey in two different ways. First, we propose a set of high level data products that will enable astronomers without detailed microlensing expertise access to the statistical implications of the WFIRST exoplanet microlensing survey data. And second, we propose the formation of a WFIRST Exoplanet Microlensing Community Science Team that will open up participation in the development of the WFIRST exoplanet microlensing survey to the general astronomy community in collaboration for the NASA selected science team, which will have the responsibility to provide most of the high level data products. This community science team will be open to volunteers, but members should also have the opportunity to apply for funding.

Comments: Astro2020 APC White Paper

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:1908.00548 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:1908.00548v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)

Submission history

From: David Bennett  

[v1] Thu, 1 Aug 2019 18:00:01 UTC (3,174 KB)

SpaceRef staff editor.