Its telescope will focus on bright stars to determine the size of planets as they pass in front of their host star. It has a Ritchey Chrétien telescope that matches the design of the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes.
"Cheops is 710 kilometres (440 miles) away, exactly where we wanted it to be, it's absolutely flawless", Didier Queloz, 2019 Nobel Physics Prize victor, told AFP in French Guiana, where the launch took place.
Cheops "will focus on planets in the super-Earth to Neptune size range, with its data enabling the bulk density of the planets to be derived - a first-step characterisation towards understanding these alien worlds", according to the Esa website.
CHEOPS will have look for exoplanets, their density, or whether they are rockier like Earth and Mars, or more gaseous like Saturn, Jupiter, and Uranus. In 2012 the ESA selected CHEOPS, based on that initial design, as its first small-class (or S-class) mission, a type of smaller-scale program meant to promote innovation and education.
The primary objective of the CHEOPS satellite is to observe various important aspects of exoplanets. Unlike previous telescopes, however, CHEOPS will not scan the skies for never-before-seen transits. The exoplanets examined by CHEOPS are likely to be the main targets for future studies with the James Webb Space Telescope, which will hopefully launch in March 2021.
- Can we search for exoplanets from Earth? Scientists may also turn their attention to larger gas giant exoplanets to compare and contrast with potentially habitable worlds.
Very close to a big deal with China
She says it is in the interests of the worldwide community for the two sides to come to an agreement. The U.S. and China have reportedly reached an agreement on the terms of a phase one trade deal.
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At the same time, the stellar blink method is used by ground-based telescopes such as the Next Generation Transit Survey, at Paranal Observatory in Chile.
Human hibernation in deep space missions?
Another mission, the Wide-Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST), created to investigate dark energy and prospect for distant exoplanets, continues to survive the political vicissitudes of NASA's budget process.
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, created to report infrared radiation from the universe's earliest days and warmth from exoplanets, is on observe after many mishaps, the house company says, for a launch on March 30, 2021. It would launch in the mid-2020s.
The launch previously scheduled last Tuesday, but due to some technical problems, the administration chose to postpone it just before 85 minutes of the launch.