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See detailSPHERE+: Imaging young Jupiters down to the snowline
Boccaletti, A.; Chauvin, G.; Mouillet, D. et al

E-print/Working paper (2020)

SPHERE (Beuzit et al,. 2019) has now been in operation at the VLT for more than 5 years, demonstrating a high level of performance. SPHERE has produced outstanding results using a variety of operating ... [more ▼]

SPHERE (Beuzit et al,. 2019) has now been in operation at the VLT for more than 5 years, demonstrating a high level of performance. SPHERE has produced outstanding results using a variety of operating modes, primarily in the field of direct imaging of exoplanetary systems, focusing on exoplanets as point sources and circumstellar disks as extended objects. The achievements obtained thus far with SPHERE (~200 refereed publications) in different areas (exoplanets, disks, solar system, stellar physics...) have motivated a large consortium to propose an even more ambitious set of science cases, and its corresponding technical implementation in the form of an upgrade. The SPHERE+ project capitalizes on the expertise and lessons learned from SPHERE to push high contrast imaging performance to its limits on the VLT 8m-telescope. The scientific program of SPHERE+ described in this document will open a new and compelling scientific window for the upcoming decade in strong synergy with ground-based facilities (VLT/I, ELT, ALMA, and SKA) and space missions (Gaia, JWST, PLATO and WFIRST). While SPHERE has sampled the outer parts of planetary systems beyond a few tens of AU, SPHERE+ will dig into the inner regions around stars to reveal and characterize by mean of spectroscopy the giant planet population down to the snow line. Building on SPHERE's scientific heritage and resounding success, SPHERE+ will be a dedicated survey instrument which will strengthen the leadership of ESO and the European community in the very competitive field of direct imaging of exoplanetary systems. With enhanced capabilities, it will enable an even broader diversity of science cases including the study of the solar system, the birth and death of stars and the exploration of the inner regions of active galactic nuclei. [less ▲]

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See detailStatus of the mid-IR ELT imager and spectrograph (METIS)
Brandl, B. R.; Absil, Olivier ULiege; Agócs, T. et al

in Evans, C.; Simard, L.; Takami, H. (Eds.) Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII (2018, July 12)

The Mid-Infrared ELT Imager and Spectrograph (METIS) is one of three first light instruments on the ELT. It will provide high-contrast imaging and medium resolution, slit-spectroscopy from 3 - 19um, as ... [more ▼]

The Mid-Infrared ELT Imager and Spectrograph (METIS) is one of three first light instruments on the ELT. It will provide high-contrast imaging and medium resolution, slit-spectroscopy from 3 - 19um, as well as high resolution (R ∼ 100,000) integral field spectroscopy from 2.9-5.3μm. All modes observe at the diffraction limit of the ELT, by means of adaptive optics, yielding angular resolutions of a few tens of milliarcseconds. The range of METIS science is broad, from Solar System objects to active galactic nuclei (AGN). We will present an update on the main science drivers for METIS: circum-stellar disks and exoplanets. The METIS project is now in full steam, approaching its preliminary design review (PDR) in 2018. In this paper we will present the current status of its optical, mechanical and thermal design as well as operational aspects. We will also discuss the challenges of building an instrument for the ELT, and the required technologies. © 2018 SPIE. [less ▲]

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See detailThe PLATO 2.0 Mission
Rauer, Heike; Catala, Claude; Aerts, Conny et al

in Experimental Astronomy (2014)

PLATO 2.0 has recently been selected for ESA’s M3 launch opportunity (2022/24). Providing accurate key planet parameters (radius, mass, density and age) in statistical numbers, it addresses fundamental ... [more ▼]

PLATO 2.0 has recently been selected for ESA’s M3 launch opportunity (2022/24). Providing accurate key planet parameters (radius, mass, density and age) in statistical numbers, it addresses fundamental questions such as: How do planetary systems form and evolve? Are there other systems with planets like ours, including potentially habitable planets? The PLATO 2.0 instrument consists of 34 small aperture telescopes (32 with 25 s readout cadence and 2 with 2.5 s candence) providing a wide field-of-view (2232 deg 2) and a large photometric magnitude range (4–16 mag). It focusses on bright (4–11 mag) stars in wide fields to detect and characterize planets down to Earth-size by photometric transits, whose masses can then be determined by ground-based radial-velocity follow-up measurements. Asteroseismology will be performed for these bright stars to obtain highly accurate stellar parameters, including masses and ages. The combination of bright targets and asteroseismology results in high accuracy for the bulk planet parameters: 2 %, 4–10 % and 10 % for planet radii, masses and ages, respectively. The planned baseline observing strategy includes two long pointings (2–3 years) to detect and bulk characterize planets reaching into the habitable zone (HZ) of solar-like stars and an additional step-and-stare phase to cover in total about 50 % of the sky. PLATO 2.0 will observe up to 1,000,000 stars and detect and characterize hundreds of small planets, and thousands of planets in the Neptune to gas giant regime out to the HZ. It will therefore provide the first large-scale catalogue of bulk characterized planets with accurate radii, masses, mean densities and ages. This catalogue will include terrestrial planets at intermediate orbital distances, where surface temperatures are moderate. Coverage of this parameter range with statistical numbers of bulk characterized planets is unique to PLATO 2.0. The PLATO 2.0 catalogue allows us to e.g.: - complete our knowledge of planet diversity for low-mass objects, - correlate the planet mean density-orbital distance distribution with predictions from planet formation theories,- constrain the influence of planet migration and scattering on the architecture of multiple systems, and - specify how planet and system parameters change with host star characteristics, such as type, metallicity and age. The catalogue will allow us to study planets and planetary systems at different evolutionary phases. It will further provide a census for small, low-mass planets. This will serve to identify objects which retained their primordial hydrogen atmosphere and in general the typical characteristics of planets in such low-mass, low-density range. Planets detected by PLATO 2.0 will orbit bright stars and many of them will be targets for future atmosphere spectroscopy exploring their atmosphere. Furthermore, the mission has the potential to detect exomoons, planetary rings, binary and Trojan planets. The planetary science possible with PLATO 2.0 is complemented by its impact on stellar and galactic science via asteroseismology as well as light curves of all kinds of variable stars, together with observations of stellar clusters of different ages. This will allow us to improve stellar models and study stellar activity. A large number of well-known ages from red giant stars will probe the structure and evolution of our Galaxy. Asteroseismic ages of bright stars for different phases of stellar evolution allow calibrating stellar age-rotation relationships. Together with the results of ESA’s Gaia mission, the results of PLATO 2.0 will provide a huge legacy to planetary, stellar and galactic science. [less ▲]

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