Cheops satellite lifts off to study planets beyond solar system

HabEx the Habitable Exoplanet Observatory is a NASA project to find Earth-like planets outside the solar system

HabEx the Habitable Exoplanet Observatory is a NASA project to find Earth-like planets outside the solar system. Scott Gaudi Ohio State

Early on December 18, Cheops was launched by the Soyuz-Fregat launcher from an ESA spaceport located French Guiana in South America. Eastern time on Tuesday, Dec. 17. But its launch was suddenly postponed on Tuesday. You possibly can watch it stay on the E.S.A. web site. The launcher also delivered an Italian Earth-observing satellite into orbit. The Hubble Space Telescope, by comparison, orbits about 350 miles above the surface, moving from west to east.

Dr Nicholas Walton, a CHEOPS board member and the institute's lead on the project, told the Cambrige Independent in an interview previous year: "CHEOPS only has a small field of view but will point at a star only when we know that an exoplanet will be transiting".

"During final countdown operations for Flight VS23, the Soyuz launcher's automated sequence was interrupted at 1 hour 25 minutes before liftoff", said the statement, adding that a new launch date would be announced as soon as possible.

CHEOPS will specifically be looking to spot the "exoplanets" (planets that are outside our own solar system) as they pass in front of their stars - at which point they become observable because they block some of the light emitted from the distant suns.

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Cheops arrives at the launch pad.

Swiss astronomer and Nobel Physics Prize victor Didier Queloz, who heads the CHEOPS science team, told The Associated Press earlier this week that the mission will focus on 100 specific exoplanets. Dr. Queloz will probably be in attendance at the launch.

Missions such as Kepler and TESS have identified many potential exoplanets, but we rarely get more than their position, approximate mass, and orbit characteristics.

The telescope will accurately measure some of these planets and look for information about whether they are rocky or gaseous.

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Cheops will make detailed measurements of the sizes of those planets by observing small dips within the brightness of their residence stars because the planets move in entrance of them - the so-referred to as blink methodology. CHEOPS is the first mission it could find out. Then it will move to the next interesting star, so it can always be observing transits.

The primary goal of the CHEOPS satellite is to observe various important aspects of exoplanets.

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.

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