den Hartog, Roland, Absil, Olivier, Kaltenegger, L., Gondoin, P., Wilhelm, R., and Fridlund, M.
In M., Fridlund & T., Henning (Eds.), Towards Other Earths: DARWIN/TPF and the Search for Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets (pp. 399-402). Noordwijk, Netherlands: ESA (2003).
Nulling Interferometer, Extrasolar Planets, Physical, chemical, mathematical & earth Sciences :: Space science, astronomy & astrophysics, and Physique, chimie, mathématiques & sciences de la terre :: Aérospatiale, astronomie & astrophysique
The prime objective of GENIE (Ground-based European Nulling Interferometry Experiment) is to obtain experience with the design, construction and operation of an IR nulling interferometer, as a preparation for the DARWIN/TPF mission. In this context, the detection of a planet orbiting another star would provide an excellent demonstration of nulling interferometry. Doing this through the atmosphere, however, is a formidable task. In this paper we assess the prospects of detecting, with nulling interferometry on ESO's VLT, a Hot Jupiter, a giant planet in a close orbit around its parent star. First we discuss the definition of the optimal target. Then we present a simulated observation of the Tau Bootis system, which suggests that GENIE, in a L'-band single Bracewell configuration, could detect the hot Jupiter in a few hours time with a signal-to-noise ratio of up to ~80. Although there are strong requirements on the control-loop performance, background subtraction and accuracy of the photometry calibration, we conclude that at present there do not seem to be fundamental problems that would prevent GENIE from detecting hot Jupiters. Hence the answer to the question in the title is yes.