AAS 197, January 2001
Session 11. Extrasolar Planets and Very Low Mass Stars
Display, Monday, January 8, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[11.08] The Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST): A Search for Terrestrial Extra-solar Planets via Gravitational Microlensing

D. P. Bennett (Notre Dame), M. Clampin (STScI), K. H. Cook, A. Drake (LLNL), A. Gould (Ohio State), K. Horne (St. Andrews), S. Horner (LMSS), D. Jewitt (Hawaii), G. Langston (NRAO), T. Lauer (NOAO), A. Lumsdaine (Notre Dame), D. Minniti (Catolica), S. Peale (UCSB), S. H. Rhie (Notre Dame), M. Shao (JPL), R. Stevenson (Notre Dame), D. Tenerelli (LMSS), D. Tytler (UCSD), N. Woolf (Arizona)

GEST is a comprehensive extra-solar planet search mission sensitive to planets with masses as low as that of Mars. GEST will monitor the Galactic bulge for 8 months per year for three years to detect planets via gravitational microlensing and transits. GEST's microlensing survey will detect low-mass planets at separations of > 0.6 AU via high signal-to-noise variations of gravitational microlensing light curves. These planetary signals do not require follow-up observations to confirm the planetary interpretation, and they yield direct measurements of the star:planet mass ratio. GEST will be able to detect ~100 Earth-mass planets at 1 AU (assuming ~1 such planet per star) and will detect its first Earth-mass planets within a few months of launch. The GEST microlensing survey is the only proposed planet search program sensitive to old, free-floating planets. GEST's transit survey will search ~108 Galactic bulge stars for giant planets at separations of < 30 AU, and it is anticipated that more than 50,000 new giant planets will be discovered.

When the Galactic bulge is not visible, GEST will survey ~1200 square degrees for Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and operate a Participating Scienctist Program (PSP) with observational programs selected via competitive proposals. The KBO survey should discover 100,000 new KBOs.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://bustard.phys.nd.edu/GEST/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

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