Dec 21, 2019

ESA’s CHEOPS Just Launched. We’re About to Learn a LOT More About Exoplanets

Posted by in category: space

The CHEOPS mission is underway. On December 18th, the exoplanet-studying spacecraft launched from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana aboard a Soyuz-Fregat rocket. Initial signals from CHEOPS show that the launch was a success.

CHEOPS stands for the Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite. It’s a partnership between ESA and Switzerland, with 10 other EU states contributing. Its mission is not to find more exoplanets, but to study the ones we already know of.

It’ll watch as these exoplanets transit in front of the star, the same way we’ve found most of the exoplanets we’ve discovered to date. But CHEOPS will be focusing on the dips in starlight with a specific intent: to find the planets’ size.

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