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A. Tanner, J. Catanzarite, M. Shao (JPL)
SIM PlanetQuest is a space-borne Michelson interferometer with a nine meter baseline that will survey ~200 stars within ~30 parsecs for terrestrial mass planets. Ultra-precise astrometric observations will reveal the gravitational wobble of the target star (due to a planetary companion) against an intertial frame of reference stars within a one degree radius. Here, we report the results of multiple Monte Carlo orbital simulations which have modeled SIM's ability to both detect and determine the orbital parameters and masses of the target stars as well as the narrow angle reference stars. By determining the orbital phase of the planet, SIM will be able to assist TPF-C by telling it when to look in order to ensure that the planet will be outside its 62 milli-arcsecond inner working angle. The masses determined by SIM will not suffer from the Msini ambiguity inherent in radial velocity surveys.
This work is carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.