Padova University
Padova University
Astronomy Department
Physics & Astronomy Dep.
Asiago Observatory
Padova Observatory
Padova Observatory

Exoplanets & Stellar Populations Group

vicolo Osservatorio 3, 35122 Padova - Italy tel. +39.049.827.8211     fax. +39.049.827.8212

CHEOPS mission

CHEOPS (CHaracterizing ExOPlanet Satellite) has been proposed as an S-class mission in response to the call for Proposals issued by ESA in March 2012. It has been selected by ESA as the first S-class mission in Cosmic Vision 2015-2025. Formal adoption of the mission is expected in early 2014, with launch planned for 2017.
The CHEOPS mission is a joint ESA-Switzerland project, with important contribution from Italy and a number of other ESA Member States, cooperating within a dedicated Mission Consortium.
CHEOPS is the first mission dedicated to the characterization of small-size transiting planets by means of ultrahigh precision photometry on bright stars already known to host planets. It will allow an accurate determination of the radii of transiting planets, for which the mass has already been measured from ground-based spectroscopic surveys. It will also provide precision radii for new planets discovered by the next generation of ground-based transits surveys (Neptune-size and smaller).
For the first time, CHEOPS will enable comparative planetology in an unexplored mass range at a precision never before achieved.  CHEOPS will provide, in a very timely way, unique targets for future ground- (e.g. E-ELT) and space-based (e.g. JWST, EChO) facilities with spectroscopic capabilities for atmospheric characterization. With well-determined radii and masses, the CHEOPS planets will constitute the best target sample within the solar neighborhood for such future studies.
Our group is strongly involved in the preparation and exploitation of the scientific program of CHEOPS, and in close connection and collaboration with the technological group of Dr. Roberto Ragazzoni, at the nearby INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padova who is responsible for the CHEOPS optics.

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