The First Mid-Infrared Direct Imaging Observations of Exoplanets Using JWST

Friday 6 July, 09:00

To prepare for the upcoming launch of JWST, a broad range of proposals have been selected by STScI under the Director’s Discretionary Early Release Science (ERS) Program. Our accepted 52-hour JWST ERS program will directly characterize two recently-discovered, directly imaged exoplanets over their full spectral range from 2-28 microns using photometry and spectroscopy. Ours will be among the first-ever observations of bona fide exoplanets at these wavelengths, and will be crucial test cases for atmospheric retrieval codes that have mostly operated in the visible and near-infrared.  Further, our program will demonstrate the degree to which atmospheric abundance analysis can be obtained from JWST spectroscopy, possibly providing clues to the planet formation process.  As a bonus, our program will also perform deep, near-infrared, Sparse Aperture Masking on an exoplanet host star, as well as imaging of a debris disc out to 15 microns sampling the 3 micron water ice feature.  Within the first few months of JWST operation, our program will rapidly produce publicly-available datasets in modes to be commonly used by the exoplanet direct imaging communities.  In addition, I will describe how our team of 120 investigators will deliver science enabling products to empower a broad user base to develop successful future JWST investigations dedicated to direct-imaging surveys for low-mass exoplanets (e.g. Saturn mass) in Cycle 2 and beyond.

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