Securing the legacy of TESS through the care and maintenance of TESS planet ephemerides

Kavli Affiliate: Gabor Furesz

| First 5 Authors: Diana Dragomir, Mallory Harris, Joshua Pepper, Thomas Barclay, Steven Villanueva Jr

| Summary:

Much of the science from the exoplanets detected by the TESS mission relies
on precisely predicted transit times that are needed for many follow-up
characterization studies. We investigate ephemeris deterioration for simulated
TESS planets and find that the ephemerides of 81% of those will have expired
(i.e. 1$sigma$ mid-transit time uncertainties greater than 30 minutes) one
year after their TESS observations. We verify these results using a sample of
TESS planet candidates as well. In particular, of the simulated planets that
would be recommended as JWST targets by Kempton et al. (2018), $sim$80% will
have mid-transit time uncertainties $>$ 30 minutes by the earliest time JWST
would observe them. This rapid deterioration is driven primarily by the
relatively short time baseline of TESS observations. We describe strategies for
maintaining TESS ephemerides fresh through follow-up transit observations. We
find that the longer the baseline between the TESS and the follow-up
observations, the longer the ephemerides stay fresh, and that 51% of simulated
primary mission TESS planets will require space-based observations. The
recently-approved extension to the TESS mission will rescue the ephemerides of
most (though not all) primary mission planets, but the benefits of these new
observations can only be reaped two years after the primary mission
observations. Moreover, the ephemerides of most primary mission TESS planets
(as well as those newly discovered during the extended mission) will again have
expired by the time future facilities such as the ELTs, Ariel and the possible
LUVOIR/OST missions come online, unless maintenance follow-up observations are
obtained.

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