National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS
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CHEOPS

The CHaracterizing ExoPlanets Satellite (CHEOPS) is a joint mission between ESA and Switzerland to be launched in 2019. ESA’s Science Programme has selected CHEOPS in 2012 as the first small mission (S-mission) in its Programme (see CHEOPS Website).

CHEOPS will be the first mission dedicated to search for transits by means of ultrahigh precision photometry on bright stars already known to host planets. By being able to point at nearly any location on the sky, it will provide the unique capability of determining accurate radii for a subset of those planets for which the mass has already been estimated from ground-based spectroscopic surveys. It will also provide precision radii for new planets discovered by the next generation ground-based transits surveys (Neptune-size and smaller).

The purpose of the CHEOPS Platform within our NCCR is to provide the organization and the funding for a high-visibility science exploitation of the mission. In particular it will create a pool of young scientists not attributed to a specific institute but encouraged to work across institutional boundaries. The CHEOPS pool will be composed of:

  • PhD students who will be incorporated in the PlanetS doctoral network organised by the NCCR
  • CHEOPS Fellows  who are competitively selected postdocs who will be offered fellowships  with a small research budget (10 kCHF/year) for travel and miscellaneous expenses. The CHEOPS Fellows are encouraged to take advantage of the interdisciplinary work carried out within the NCCR

CHEOPS_BEAUTY_FRONT_gradient_625

Artist representation of the CHEOPS satellite
(credit:ESA)

 

 

 

 

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Posts

The most stable source of light

The most stable source of light

To test the accuracy and stability of the CHEOPS photometer, a light source with a variability of less than the 20 ppm is required for the satellite. Since this type of source does not exist on the market, a team of engineers and technicians of the NCCR PlanetS and the University of Geneva has developed […]

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Hot and stormy at high altitudes

Hot and stormy at high altitudes

Studying the atmosphere of an exoplanet, astronomers of the NCCR PlanetS derived a temperature profile with unprecedented precision. Their results are based on data collected with a relatively small ground-based telescope. This opens completely new perspectives for the characterization of remote exoplanetary atmospheres. High up in the atmosphere of the exoplanet named HD 189733b it […]

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Test chamber for CHEOPS is installed

Test chamber for CHEOPS is installed

An outstanding vacuum chamber in a brand new laboratory is now waiting for the space telescope CHEOPS at the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) of the University of Berne. Space experts will put the completely assembled flight instrument in the chamber and calibrate it therein under space conditions. At five and a half tones, […]

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