Joint radial velocity and direct imaging planet yield calculations. I. self-consistent planet populations

Shannon D. Dulz, Peter Plavchan, Justin R. Crepp, Christopher Stark, Rhonda Morgan, Stephen R. Kane, Patrick Newman, William Matzko, Gijs D. Mulders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Planet yield calculations may be used to inform the target selection strategy and science operations of space observatories. Forthcoming and proposed NASA missions, such as the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, the Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission, and the Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor, are expected to be equipped with sensitive coronagraphs and/or starshades. We are developing a suite of numerical simulations to quantify the extent to which ground-based radial velocity (RV) surveys could boost the detection efficiency of direct imaging missions. In this paper, we discuss the first step in the process of estimating planet yields: generating synthetic planetary systems consistent with observed occurrence rates from multiple detection methods. In an attempt to self-consistently populate stars with orbiting planets, it is found that naive extrapolation of occurrence rates (mass, semimajor axis) results in an unrealistically large number density of Neptune-mass planets beyond the ice line (a ⪆ 5 au), causing dynamic interactions that would destabilize orbits. We impose a stability criterion for multiplanet systems based on mutual Hill radii separation. Considering the influence of compact configurations containing Jovian-mass and Neptune-mass planets results in a marked suppression in the number of terrestrial planets that can exist at large radii. This result has a pronounced impact on planet yield calculations particularly in regions accessible to high-contrast imaging and microlensing. The dynamically compact configurations and occurrence rates that we develop may be incorporated as input into joint RV and direct imaging yield calculations to place meaningful limits on the number of detectable planets with future missions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


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