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Proceedings Paper

PLATO: a multiple telescope spacecraft for exo-planets hunting
Author(s): Roberto Ragazzoni; Demetrio Magrin; Heike Rauer; Isabella Pagano; Valerio Nascimbeni; Giampaolo Piotto; Daniele Piazza; Patrick Levacher; Mario Schweitzer; Stefano Basso; Timothy Bandy; Willy Benz; Maria Bergomi; Federico Biondi; Anko Boerner; Francesco Borsa; Alexis Brandeker; Mathias Brändli; Giordano Bruno; Juan Cabrera; Simonetta Chinellato; Thierry De Roche; Marco Dima; Anders Erikson; Jacopo Farinato; Matteo Munari; Mauro Ghigo; Davide Greggio; Marco Gullieuszik; Maximilian Klebor; Luca Marafatto; Valery Mogulsky; Gisbert Peter; Martin Rieder; Daniela Sicilia; Daniele Spiga; Valentina Viotto; Matthias Wieser; Ana Maria Heras; Philippe Gondoin; Pierre Bodin; Claude Catala
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Paper Abstract

PLATO stands for PLAnetary Transits and Oscillation of stars and is a Medium sized mission selected as M3 by the European Space Agency as part of the Cosmic Vision program. The strategy behind is to scrutinize a large fraction of the sky collecting lightcurves of a large number of stars and detecting transits of exo-planets whose apparent orbit allow for the transit to be visible from the Earth. Furthermore, as the transit is basically able to provide the ratio of the size of the transiting planet to the host star, the latter is being characterized by asteroseismology, allowing to provide accurate masses, radii and hence density of a large sample of extra solar bodies. In order to be able to then follow up from the ground via spectroscopy radial velocity measurements these candidates the search must be confined to rather bright stars. To comply with the statistical rate of the occurrence of such transits around these kind of stars one needs a telescope with a moderate aperture of the order of one meter but with a Field of View that is of the order of 50 degrees in diameter. This is achieved by splitting the optical aperture into a few dozens identical telescopes with partially overlapping Field of View to build up a mixed ensemble of differently covered area of the sky to comply with various classes of magnitude stars. The single telescopes are refractive optical systems with an internally located pupil defined by a CaF2 lens, and comprising an aspheric front lens and a strong field flattener optical element close to the detectors mosaic. In order to continuously monitor for a few years with the aim to detect planetary transits similar to an hypothetical twin of the Earth, with the same revolution period, the spacecraft is going to be operated while orbiting around the L2 Lagrangian point of the Earth-Sun system so that the Earth disk is no longer a constraints potentially interfering with such a wide field continuous uninterrupted survey.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 July 2016
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 9904, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 990428 (29 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2236094
Show Author Affiliations
Roberto Ragazzoni, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Demetrio Magrin, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Heike Rauer, DLR - Institut für Planetenforschung (Germany)
Isabella Pagano, INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania (Italy)
Valerio Nascimbeni, Univ. degli Studi di Padova (Italy)
Giampaolo Piotto, Univ. degli Studi di Padova (Italy)
Daniele Piazza, Univ. of Bern (Switzerland)
Patrick Levacher, Lab. d'Astrophysique de Marseille (France)
Mario Schweitzer, OHB System AG (Germany)
Stefano Basso, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Timothy Bandy, Univ. of Bern (Switzerland)
Willy Benz, Univ. of Bern (Switzerland)
Maria Bergomi, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Federico Biondi, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Anko Boerner, DLR - Institut für Planetenforschung (Germany)
Francesco Borsa, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Alexis Brandeker, Stockholm Univ. (Sweden)
Mathias Brändli, Univ. of Bern (Switzerland)
Giordano Bruno, Univ. of Bern (Switzerland)
Juan Cabrera, DLR - Institut für Planetenforschung (Germany)
Simonetta Chinellato, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Thierry De Roche, Univ. of Bern (Switzerland)
Marco Dima, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Anders Erikson, DLR - Institut für Planetenforschung (Germany)
Jacopo Farinato, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Matteo Munari, INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania (Italy)
Mauro Ghigo, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Davide Greggio, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Univ. degli Studi di Padova (Italy)
Marco Gullieuszik, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Maximilian Klebor, OHB System AG (Germany)
Luca Marafatto, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Valery Mogulsky, OHB System AG (Germany)
Gisbert Peter, DLR - Institut für Planetenforschung (Germany)
Martin Rieder, Univ. of Bern (Switzerland)
Daniela Sicilia, INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania (Italy)
Daniele Spiga, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Valentina Viotto, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Matthias Wieser, OHB System AG (Germany)
Ana Maria Heras, European Space Research and Technology Ctr. (Netherlands)
Philippe Gondoin, European Space Research and Technology Ctr. (Netherlands)
Pierre Bodin, Ctr. National d'Études Spatiales (France)
Claude Catala, Observatoire de Paris (France)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9904:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Howard A. MacEwen; Giovanni G. Fazio; Makenzie Lystrup; Natalie Batalha; Nicholas Siegler; Edward C. Tong, Editor(s)

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