Because it is a groundbreaking all-sky spectroscopic survey,
SPHEREx will be relevant to many scientific inquiries even beyond the
three main science themes being pursued by the mission team. Here
we list some of the relevant articles that have recently appeared
in the popular and professional press.
Nov 22, 2016 - In a paper already accepted for publication in
the Astrophysical Journal,
The Depetion of Water During Dispersal of Planet-Forming Disk Regions,
Andrea Banzatti (Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of
Arizona) et al. report results from their analysis of the "most comprehensive
dataset of water vapor emission from disks ever assembled." Banzatti et al.
analyzed combined ground- and space-based spectra of 55 disk systems.
Correlations in their data reveal inside-out depletion
of water vapor within the snow line, a process that may be associated with gaps in
the planet-forming disks. (Note: this work is complementary to SPHEREx because
it focuses on water vapor, whereas SPHEREx will assay the relatively abundant
water ices in fainter systems and orders of magnitude more of them.)
Oct 21, 2016 - In a new article
Tracing Water Vapor and Ice During Dust Growth,
Sebastian Krijt (University of Chicago) and collaborators
describe their new protoplanetary disk dust model.
This model simultaneously treats many different physical
processes ongoing in disks, including dust growth
and fragmentation, as well as dust grain dynamics, gas-grain chemistry,
and vapor diffusion, and shows how dust coagulation dramatically impacts the distributions of
water ice and vapor, and their abundances, in the vertical column.
Sep 21, 2016 - In an arXiv posting today entitled
Grand challenges in protoplanetary disk modelling,
Haworth et al. 2016
explain that the composition of ice coating dust grains in
disks can impact the dust "sticking efficiency and
coagulation and fragmentation efficiencies," with
consequences for how the dust, and likewise the disk,
evolves over time. SPHEREx will shed light on this issue
by constraining ice compositions in literally thousands of
protoplanetary disks. This article is now accepted for publication in PASA.
Sep 15, 2016 - in a new paper entitled
Accurate, Empirical Radii and Masses of Planets with GAIA Parallaxes,
Stassun et al. highlight the importance of SPHEREx spectrophotometry of
host stars' transiting planets, which, when combined with GAIA spectrophotometry
and astrometry, will provide improved effective stellar temperature and radii.
This will translate directly into significantly improved knowledge of the
exoplanets. Stassun et al. project that exoplanet radii can be determined
with uncertainties of only a few percent in the best cases.
Jun 24, 2016 - The potential scientific impact of SPHEREx ice spectroscopy
on our understanding of disk evolution is underlined by
Min et al., 2016
(Astronomy & Astrophysics 593, 11). Min et al. analyze
Herschel spectra to show that water ice "catalyzes the rapid formation
of planetismals and decreases the time scale for giant planet core accretion."
Feb 24-26, 2016 - The SPHEREx team held a very successful
community-oriented science workshop at CalTech.
It was attended by more than 50 scientists from a wide range of disciplines,
including galactic, extragalactic, and planetary science. A
describing the science topics was recently posted on arxiv. The attendees on day two:
May 9, 2015 - Boogert, Gerkines, and Whittet published an Annual Review article entitled Observations of the icy universe, which summarizes what we know about the detected infrared spectroscopic ice features so far, and compares the ice abundances across Galactic, extragalactic, and Solar System environments, setting the scientific stage for SPHEREx.