Exoclock project explores transiting exoplanets for the Ariel mission

(ORDO NEWS) — Details of the orbits of 450 potential exoplanets targeted by the European Space Agency’s Ariel space mission were presented this week at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022.

The study, coordinated by the ExoClock project, was co-authored by 217 professional and amateur astronomers, as well as university students and high school students.

Ariel will study a population of over 1,000 exoplanets to characterize their atmospheres.

The ExoClock project, which launched in September 2019, aims to support long-term monitoring of exoplanets through regular observations using small to medium scale telescopes.

Participants present measurements of light curves that show a drop in intensity as the planet passes in front of the parent star and blocks out some of the light.

When Ariel launches in 2029, it will need to know exactly the expected transit time of each exoplanet it observes in order to maximize mission efficiency and effectiveness.

“A new study has shown that more than 40% of ephemeris for proposed Ariel targets need to be updated.

This highlights the important role that the ExoClock community can play in frequently monitoring Ariel targets,” the researchers said.

ExoClock members plan and conduct observations, analyze data, and present their results to the scientific team for review. This interactive process helps maintain consistency in results and enriches the participants’ experience.

“Science is for everyone, and we are very pleased that thanks to the project, everyone can become a part of a real space mission. Our observers come from over 35 countries and have a wide range of experience.

It’s great to see so many people willing to learn and work together in a collaborative spirit. Our team continues to grow every day with members from all over the world,” say the researchers.

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