RC 2020 - HR2
Our knowledge about the abundance of planetary systems, the diversity of the planet population, and the properties of individual objects has been growing swiftly. Transit and radial velocity surveys have been uncovering a growing population of characterizable planets: planets orbiting bright hosts, and planets orbiting low-mass stars. At the same time, instrumental advances, paired with the refinement of characterization techniques, are allowing us to resolve the workings of planetary atmospheres in ever greater detail.
The most recent addition to the fleet of instruments pursuing exoplanet research is the Characterizing Exoplanets Satellite (CHEOPS), the first European space mission dedicated primarily to the study of exoplanetary systems. The satellite, carrying a 30cm photometric telescope, has been launched successfully in December 2019 and has seen first light in January 2020. Throughout its nominal mission of 3.5 years, it will perform ultra-high precision photometry of bright stars known to host extrasolar planets.
In this talk, I will showcase recent highlights in exoplanets research, summarizing the state of this fast-moving research field. I will further present the key aspects of the CHEOPS space mission, summarize its scientific program, and give an update on its first scientific observations.