The JWST Early Release Science Program for the Direct Imaging and Spectroscopy of Exoplanetary Systems

Sasha Hinkley, Aarynn L. Carter, Shrishmoy Ray, Andrew Skemer, Beth Biller, Elodie Choquet, Maxwell A. Millar-Blanchaer, Stephanie Sallum, Brittany Miles, Niall Whiteford, Polychronis Patapis, Marshall Perrin, Laurent Pueyo, Glenn Schneider, Karl Stapelfeldt, Jason Wang, Kimberly Ward-Duong, Brendan P. Bowler, Anthony Boccaletti, Julien H. GirardDean Hines, Paul Kalas, Jens Kammerer, Pierre Kervella, Jarron Leisenring, Eric Pantin, Yifan Zhou, Michael Meyer, Michael C. Liu, Mickael Bonnefoy, Thayne Currie, Michael McElwain, Stanimir Metchev, Mark Wyatt, Olivier Absil, Jea Adams, Travis Barman, Isabelle Baraffe, Mariangela Bonavita, Mark Booth, Marta Bryan, Gael Chauvin, Christine Chen, Camilla Danielski, Matthew De Furio, Samuel M. Factor, Michael P. Fitzgerald, Jonathan J. Fortney, Carol Grady, Alexandra Greenbaum, Thomas Henning, Kielan K.W. Hoch, Markus Janson, Grant Kennedy, Matthew Kenworthy, Adam Kraus, Masayuki Kuzuhara, Pierre Olivier Lagage, Anne Marie Lagrange, Ralf Launhardt, Cecilia Lazzoni, James Lloyd, Sebastian Marino, Mark Marley, Raquel Martinez, Christian Marois, Brenda Matthews, Elisabeth C. Matthews, Dimitri Mawet, Johan Mazoyer, Mark Phillips, Simon Petrus, Sascha P. Quanz, Andreas Quirrenbach, Julien Rameau, Isabel Rebollido, Emily Rickman, Matthias Samland, B. Sargent, Joshua E. Schlieder, Anand Sivaramakrishnan, Jordan M. Stone, Motohide Tamura, Pascal Tremblin, Taichi Uyama, Malavika Vasist, Arthur Vigan, Kevin Wagner, Marie Ygouf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The direct characterization of exoplanetary systems with high-contrast imaging is among the highest priorities for the broader exoplanet community. As large space missions will be necessary for detecting and characterizing exo-Earth twins, developing the techniques and technology for direct imaging of exoplanets is a driving focus for the community. For the first time, JWST will directly observe extrasolar planets at mid-infrared wavelengths beyond 5 μm, deliver detailed spectroscopy revealing much more precise chemical abundances and atmospheric conditions, and provide sensitivity to analogs of our solar system ice-giant planets at wide orbital separations, an entirely new class of exoplanet. However, in order to maximize the scientific output over the lifetime of the mission, an exquisite understanding of the instrumental performance of JWST is needed as early in the mission as possible. In this paper, we describe our 55 hr Early Release Science Program that will utilize all four JWST instruments to extend the characterization of planetary-mass companions to ∼15 μm as well as image a circumstellar disk in the mid-infrared with unprecedented sensitivity. Our program will also assess the performance of the observatory in the key modes expected to be commonly used for exoplanet direct imaging and spectroscopy, optimize data calibration and processing, and generate representative data sets that will enable a broad user base to effectively plan for general observing programs in future Cycles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number095003
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number1039
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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