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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

EXtra-solar planets and stellar astrophysics: towards the detections of Others Earths (EXOEarths)

ERC-2009-StG-239953 (call ERC-2009-StG_20081029)

Principal investigator
Nuno C. Santos

The detection of more than 300 extrasolar planets orbiting other solar-like stars opened the window to a new field of astrophysics. Many projects to search for Earth-like planets are currently under way, using a huge battery of telescopes and instruments. new instrumentation is also being developed towards this goal for use in both ground- and space-based based facilities. the stellar-planet connection is strengthened by the fact that most of the exoplanets were discovered using a Doppler radial-velocity technique, where the gravitational influence of the planet on the star and not the planet itself is actually measured. This project aims at doing frontier research to explore:

i) in unique detail the stellar limitations of the radial-velocity tecnique, as well as ways of reducing them, having in mind the detection of Earth-like planets and,
ii) to develop and apply software packages aiming at the study of the properties of the planet-host stars, having in mind the full characterization of the new found planets, as well as understanding planet formation processes.

These goals will improve our capacity to detect, study, and characterize new very low mass extra-solar planets. EXOEarths further fits into the fact that I am currently Co-PI of the project for a new high-resolution ultra-stable spectrograph for the VLT. The results of this project are crucial to fully exploit this new instrument. They will be also of extreme importance to current state-of-the-art planet-search projects aiming at the discovery of other Earths, in particular those making use of the radial-velocity method.

Funding institution
European Commission

Start: 1 October 2009
End: 31 December 2014

>> See project website

European Union  Seventh Framework Programme  European Research Council

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

Proceed on CAUP's website|Go to IA website