eleanor: An Open-source Tool for Extracting Light Curves from the TESS Full-frame Images

September 2019 • 2019PASP..131i4502F

Authors • Feinstein, Adina D. • Montet, Benjamin T. • Foreman-Mackey, Daniel • Bedell, Megan E. • Saunders, Nicholas • Bean, Jacob L. • Christiansen, Jessie L. • Hedges, Christina • Luger, Rodrigo • Scolnic, Daniel • Cardoso, José Vinícius de Miranda

Abstract • During its two-year prime mission, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will perform a time-series photometric survey covering over 80% of the sky. This survey comprises observations of 26 24° × 96° sectors that are each monitored continuously for approximately 27 days. The main goal of TESS is to find transiting planets around 200,000 pre-selected stars for which fixed aperture photometry is recorded every two minutes. However, TESS is also recording and delivering full-frame images (FFIs) of each detector at a 30-minutes cadence. We have created an open-source tool, eleanor, to produce light curves for objects in the TESS FFIs. Here, we describe the methods used in eleanor to produce light curves that are optimized for planet searches. The tool performs background subtraction; aperture and point-spread function photometry; decorrelation of instrument systematics; and cotrending using principal component analysis. We recover known transiting exoplanets in the FFIs to validate the pipeline and perform a limited search for new planet candidates in Sector 1. Our tests indicate that eleanor produces light curves with significantly less scatter than other tools that have been used in the literature. Cadence-stacked images, and raw and detrended eleanor light curves for each analyzed star will be hosted on Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes, with planet candidates on ExoFOP-TESS as Community TESS Objects of Interest. This work confirms the promise that the TESS FFIs will enable the detection of thousands of new exoplanets and a broad range of time domain astrophysics.


IPAC Authors


Jessie Christiansen

Associate Scientist