Volume 627, July 2019
|Number of page(s)||20|
|Published online||02 July 2019|
In-flight photometry extraction of PLATO targets
Optimal apertures for detecting extrasolar planets
Laboratoire d’Etudes Spatiales et d’Instrumentation en Astrophysique, Observatoire de Paris, Université PSL, CNRS, 5 Pl. Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France
2 Escola Politécnica – Departamento de Engenharia de Telecomunicações e Controle, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, trav. 3, n. 158, 05508-010 São Paulo, Brazil
3 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Optische Sensorsysteme, Rutherfordstraße 2, 12489 Berlin-Adlershof, Germany
4 Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, CNES, LAM, Marseille, France
5 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Planetenforschung, Rutherfordstraße 2, 12489 Berlin-Adlershof, Germany
6 OHB System AG, Universitätsallee 27-29, 28359 Bremen, Germany
7 Thales Alenia Space, 5 Allée des Gabians, 06150 Cannes, France
Accepted: 14 May 2019
Context. The ESA PLATO space mission is devoted to unveiling and characterizing new extrasolar planets and their host stars. This mission will encompass a very large (>2100 deg2) field of view, granting it the potential to survey up to one million stars depending on the final observation strategy. The telemetry budget of the spacecraft cannot handle transmitting individual images for such a huge stellar sample at the right cadence, so the development of an appropriate strategy to perform on-board data reduction is mandatory.
Aims. We employ mask-based (aperture) photometry to produce stellar light curves in flight. Our aim is thus to find the mask model that optimizes the scientific performance of the reduced data.
Methods. We considered three distinct aperture models: binary mask, weighted Gaussian mask, and weighted gradient mask giving lowest noise-to-signal ratio, computed through a novel direct method. Each model was tested on synthetic images generated for 50 000 potential PLATO targets. We extracted the stellar population from the Gaia DR2 catalogue. An innovative criterion was adopted for choosing between different mask models. We designated as optimal the model providing the best compromise between sensitivity to detect true and false planet transits. We determined the optimal model based on simulated noise-to-signal ratio and frequency of threshold crossing events.
Results. Our results show that, although the binary mask statistically presents a few percent higher noise-to-signal ratio compared to weighted masks, both strategies have very similar efficiency in detecting legitimate planet transits. When it comes to avoiding spurious signals from contaminant stars however the binary mask statistically collects considerably less contaminant flux than weighted masks, thereby allowing the former to deliver up to ∼30% less false transit signatures at 7.1σ detection threshold.
Conclusions. Our proposed approach for choosing apertures has been proven to be decisive for the determination of a mask model capable to provide near maximum planet yield and substantially reduced occurrence of false positives for the PLATO mission. Overall, this work constitutes an important step in the design of both on-board and on-ground science data processing pipelines.
Key words: instrumentation: photometers / planets and satellites: detection / techniques: photometric / methods: numerical / catalogs / zodiacal dust
© V. Marchiori et al. 2019
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