A survey of exoplanet phase curves with Ariel

Charnay, Benjamin; Mendonça, João M.; Kreidberg, Laura; Cowan, Nicolas B.; Taylor, Jake; Bell, Taylor J.; Demangeon, Olivier; Edwards, Billy; Haswell, Carole; Morello, Giuseppe; Mugnai, Lorenzo V.; Pascale, Enzo; Tinetti, Giovanna; Tremblin, Pascal and Zellem, Robert T. (2021). A survey of exoplanet phase curves with Ariel. Experimental Astronomy (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10686-021-09715-x


The ESA-Ariel mission will include a tier dedicated to exoplanet phase curves corresponding to ∼10% of the science time. We present here the current observing strategy for studying exoplanet phase curves with Ariel. We define science questions, requirements and a list of potential targets. We also estimate the precision of phase curve reconstruction and atmospheric retrieval using simulated phase curves. Based on this work, we found that full-orbit phase variations for 35-40 exoplanets could be observed during the 3.5-yr mission. This statistical sample would provide key constraints on atmospheric dynamics, composition, thermal structure and clouds of warm exoplanets, complementary to the scientific yield from spectroscopic transits/eclipses measurements.

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