Cheops: science in action
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Cheops: science in action

Nature’s beauty on Earth extends way above these distant mountains
in Switzerland And by searching beyond the skies the Geneva Observatory is helping to answer questions about the nature of the Universe we live in In 1995 at the observatory Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz seen here on the right co-discovered the first ever exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star outside our Solar System In these days I was using a technique called
radial velocity which is observing a star and looking for any change of speed in the star Since then the field has exploded and as you may know there are really now thousands of exoplanets There are lots of planets known to be transiting which means the planet goes right in front
of the star and that’s this technique that we’re using
for the CHEOPS mission The CHEOPS space telescope can measure this tiny dip in light from the
star during the transit CHEOPS’ aim is to measure the size of already
known exoplanets It’s not a discovery mission It’s really aimed at precisely measuring the size and once we have size and possibly the mass we can derive the mean density and from then we know a little bit what the planet is made of The exoplanets to be observed by CHEOPS are
typically small and range from rocky and hot to gaseous like Jupiter with possible Earth-like planets in between Many have been discovered at a much closer
distances to their host star than those in our Solar System some taking just a few days to complete an orbit There are differences too in how today’s
search for exoplanets is conducted with space-based facilities complementing ground-based telescopes and racks of computers to process data from
targeted stars and exoplanets The Observatory also houses the CHEOPS Science
Operations Centre We’re sending the observation programme to the Mission Operations Centre in Madrid where then the information is uplinked to
the actual instrument The instrument is configured to observe the star and then the telemetry the data is downlinked to the Mission Operations Centre and right away forwarded to us here in Geneva where we can do the data processing archive the data and then provide it to the scientists all
over Europe and to the world. The compact Science Operations Centre at the
heart of the mission also reflects the compact size of CHEOPS’ telescope It is just one and half metres long but will punch well above its weight and size There are now over 4000 known exoplanets and counting And through repeated observations of several
hundred of them the mission will provide an important insight into the inner structure of exoplanets how they form and evolve.

8 thoughts on “Cheops: science in action

  1. Exciting field of research enriched by measurement and observation techniques that make our era so fascinating to live. We are witnessing a turning point in this History… 🙏Many thanks to all ESA crews !!!

  2. É a procura incessante e motivadora …de encontrar um planeta longínquo que tenha condições de haver vida?! Cheops poderá ficar na história da astronomia se encontrar um como a nossa Terra!! Parece uma tarefa determinadora …O que fazer quando se encontrar?? Com um universo tão cheio de novidades …a ciência estará sempre em acção ..não é? Boa sorte!!!

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