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JWST Capabilities for Transiting Exoplanets

Presentation #628.10 in the session Future Missions and Instrumentation.

Published onApr 03, 2024
JWST Capabilities for Transiting Exoplanets

JWST has already demonstrated an unprecedented ability to characterize (or set limits on) the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets. Given the potential for two decades of operations, we should strive to improve JWST efficiency, precision, and accuracy. First, I will describe how JWST observations of transiting exoplanets are scheduled, executed, and processed today. I will highlight potential software enhancements on the ground and on the observatory. Examples include avoiding dead time before observations, enabling acquisition of brighter targets, allowing very long observations without splitting exposures, and creating new detector readout modes that interleave disjoint science and reference pixels. Second, I will describe current data quality, highlighting issues and potential mitigation strategies. Issues include the decaying ramp at the start of an exposure, persistence for slitless modes, 1/f noise, and the brighter-fatter effect. Potential mitigations include configuring the detector earlier, moving subarrays, downlinking better reference values, and clever algorithms. Thoughtful feedback from the JWST community helps STScI prioritize potential JWST enhancements. Knowledge of how JWST currently works (and doesn’t work) and what changes are possible will inform that feedback. As JWST Mission Scientist, I want to understand from the community how to maximize exoplanet science over the life of the JWST mission.

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