The PLATO Simulator: modelling of high-precision high-cadence space-based imaging⋆
1 Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
2 Department of Astrophysics, IMAPP, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
3 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS UMR 8109, UPMC, Université Denis Diderot, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
4 Dipartimento di Astronomia, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
5 Institut d’Astrophysique et de Géophysique de l’Université de Liège, Allée du 6 Août 17, 4000 Liège, Belgium
6 German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institut für Planetenforschung Extrasolare Planeten und Atmosphären, Rutherfordstraße 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany
7 TU Berlin, Hardenbergstr. 36, 10623 Berlin, Germany
Received: 20 December 2013
Accepted: 7 April 2014
Context. Many aspects of the design trade-off of a space-based instrument and its performance can best be tackled through simulations of the expected observations. The complex interplay of various noise sources in the course of the observations make such simulations an indispensable part of the assessment and design study of any space-based mission.
Aims. We present a formalism to model and simulate photometric time series of CCD images by including models of the CCD and its electronics, the telescope optics, the stellar field, the jitter movements of the spacecraft, and all of the important natural noise sources.
Methods. This formalism has been implemented in a versatile end-to-end simulation software tool, specifically designed for the PLATO (Planetary Transists and Oscillations of Stars) space mission to be operated from L2, but easily adaptable to similar types of missions. We call this tool Plato Simulator.
Results. We provide a detailed description of several noise sources and discuss their properties in connection with the optical design, the allowable level of jitter, the quantum efficiency of the detectors, etc. The expected overall noise budget of generated light curves is computed, as a function of the stellar magnitude, for different sets of input parameters describing the instrument properties. The simulator is offered to the scientific community for future use.
Key words: instrumentation: detectors / techniques: image processing / methods: data analysis / asteroseismology / planets and satellites: detection
Software package available at the Plato Simulator web site (https://fys.kuleuven.be/ster/Software/PlatoSimulator/).
© ESO, 2014