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Exploring exoPlanets wIth CHEOPS (EPIC)
COMPETE2020: POCI-01-0145-FEDER-028953 & FCT: PTDC/FIS-AST/28953/2017

Principal Investigator
Sérgio A. G. Sousa

The Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) is the first ESA mission (launch in Dec 2018) fully dedicated to the study of exoplanets. The main goal of CHEOPS is to characterize in unique detail the most interesting exoplanets, namely to derive precise planet radii by observing transit events around the brightest host stars. Together with the planetary masses derived by complementary observations, CHEOPS will bring unique information to understand the structure and atmospheres of exoplanets as well as their formation and evolution processes, from gas giants down to rocky, earth-like worlds.

The Exploring exoPlanets wIth Cheops (EPIC) project proposes to make use of our leading participation in the CHEOPS consortium to exploit its scientific data. The team includes several CHEOPS consortium members, including a board member, two Core-Science Team (CST) members, and one science-team associate, all having immediate access to the consortium data (corresponding to 80% of all the CHEOPS observations). On top of the strong scientific contribution for the mission, we are also contributing to the Science Operation Center, and more specifically to the data reduction pipeline (our team is responsible for the data calibration software). This put us in a privileged position within the consortium for the effective scientific exploitation of CHEOPS data.

In this context, and besides the exploitation of the CHEOPS data, the major goal of the EPIC project is to develop and implement new state-of-the-art tools for advanced data analysis. This will be done in specific domains where the involvement of our team is more relevant and where our expertise is unique within the CST. In particular, we will address two main problems. As any indirect method for exoplanet research, the characterization of the planet (namely its radius) can only be as good as the characterization of the host star. We thus have to characterize as best as possible planet-hosts observed by CHEOPS. The second crucial point is to take full advantage of CHEOPS photometric and temporal precision. Several new models and data analysis methods have to be developed to derive accurate masses, detect moons or rings or infer atmospheric information from CHEOPS observations.

The EPIC project will thus have a strong impact in the scientific exploitation of the CHEOPS mission, as well as in our capacity to play a major role in the different projects within the CHEOPS CST (including the leadership of the scientific publications). Furthermore, the research done is also fundamental for the future missions such as TESS (2018) and PLATO (2026), where our team is also involved.

Finally we also propose to produce one ambitious public outreach activity: the production of one planetarium-show, based on exoplanet research and on the CHEOPS's mission scientific objectives and discoveries. The show will be targeted for the general public and will be ready and freely distributed for other digital planetariums.

- total investment (investimento total): € 238.767,22
- EU financial support (apoio financeiro da UE): € 202.952,14
- national public financial support (apoio financeiro público nacional): € 35.815,08

- list of publications (lista de publicações): here
- outreach fulldome immersive short film ''CHEOPS Hello Universe!'' (curta metragem imersiva fulldome ''CHEOPS Olá Universo!'): here

1 June 2018
31 May 2022

Funding Institution
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia  Compete 2020  Portugal 2020  FEDER

Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia