The Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS)

Peter J. Wheatley, Richard G. West, Michael R. Goad, James S. Jenkins, Don L. Pollacco, Didier Queloz, Heike Rauer, Stephane Udry, Christopher A. Watson, Bruno Chazelas, Philipp Eigmuller, Gregory Lambert, Ludovic Genolet, James McCormac, Simon Walker, David J. Armstrong, Daniel Bayliss, Joao Bento, Francois Bouchy, Matthew R. BurleighJuan Cabrera, Sarah L. Casewell, Alexander Chaushev, Paul Chote, Szilard Csizmadia, Anders Erikson, Francesca Faedi, Emma Foxell, Boris T. Gansicke, Edward Gillen, Andrew Grange, Maximilian N. Gunther, Simon T. Hodgkin, James Jackman, Andres Jordan, Tom Louden, Lionel Metrailler, Maximiliano Moyano, Louise D. Nielsen, Hugh P. Osborn, Katja Poppenhaeger, Roberto Raddi, Liam Raynard, Alexis M. S. Smith, Maritza Soto, Ruth Titz-Weider

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Abstract

We describe the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), which is a ground-based project searching for transiting exoplanets orbiting bright stars. NGTS builds on the legacy of previous surveys, most notably WASP, and is designed to achieve higher photometric precision and hence find smaller planets than have previously been detected from the ground. It also operates in red light, maximizing sensitivity to late K and early M dwarf stars. The survey specifications call for photometric precision of 0.1 per cent in red light over an instantaneous field of view of 100  deg2, enabling the detection of Neptune-sized exoplanets around Sun-like stars and super-Earths around M dwarfs. The survey is carried out with a purpose-built facility at Cerro Paranal, Chile, which is the premier site of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). An array of twelve 20 cm f/2.8 telescopes fitted with back-illuminated deep-depletion CCD cameras is used to survey fields intensively at intermediate Galactic latitudes. The instrument is also ideally suited to ground-based photometric follow-up of exoplanet candidates from space telescopes such as TESS, Gaia and PLATO. We present observations that combine precise autoguiding and the superb observing conditions at Paranal to provide routine photometric precision of 0.1 per cent in 1 h for stars with I-band magnitudes brighter than 13. We describe the instrument and data analysis methods as well as the status of the survey, which achieved first light in 2015 and began full-survey operations in 2016. NGTS data will be made publicly available through the ESO archive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4476–4493
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume475
Issue number4
Early online date06 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
  • Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics

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    Wheatley, P. J., West, R. G., Goad, M. R., Jenkins, J. S., Pollacco, D. L., Queloz, D., Rauer, H., Udry, S., Watson, C. A., Chazelas, B., Eigmuller, P., Lambert, G., Genolet, L., McCormac, J., Walker, S., Armstrong, D. J., Bayliss, D., Bento, J., Bouchy, F., ... Titz-Weider, R. (2018). The Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS). Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 475(4), 4476–4493. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stx2836