See the Calendar for upcoming events
The PLATO Mission Conference 2021: Exploring exoplanets in the habitable zone of solar-like stars will be held from 11 to 15 October 2021 as an online event. This conference aims to present the status of the PLATO mission to the community, both in terms of satellite development and scientific preparation, and to bring together experts working on observations and theory associated with any of the PLATO science objectives.
The major themes of the Conference are:
- PLATO development status
- Selection of the PLATO sky fields and the PLATO Input Catalogue
- Light-curve analysis for detection and characterisation of long-period small planets
- Asteroseismology and stellar characterisation
- Advances in modelling stellar internal structure and evolution
- Stellar activity
- Ground-based observations for the confirmation and mass determination of planets
- Long-period small planets and habitability
- Planetary structure, composition, evolution, and architecture of planetary systems
- PLATO in the context of Kepler/K2, TESS, CHEOPS, JWST, Roman Space Telescope, Ariel, and large ground-based observatories
- Complementary science topics benefitting from PLATO high-precision photometry
For further information please visit the Conference Website.
With most international conferences being cancelled, we’re facing some issues:
- How can we make our PhD students known for their work?
- How can they start new collaborations, independently of their supervisors?
- How can they advertise for their papers?
So here’s the idea: what if we create a series of invited seminars, given by young researchers, dedicated to Asteroseismology? We are happy to announce that the Good Vibrations Seminar Series is up and running. You can read about the initiative on the website.
Call for applications
The steering committee is welcoming applications from PhD students in Asteroseismology. The procedure is simple and can be found here: Apply!
In order to perform the selection and distribute the seminars in time, it is important that students declare their interest in advance (i.e. before the end of 2020); the title and abstract can be preliminary at this stage.
Please note that priority will be given to students who finish their PhD in 2021. The steering committee will aim to ensure appropriate diversity of both seminar topics and speakers.
If you want to include your group in the initiative, you are most welcome to join. If you have any further questions, please get in touch with the steering committee.
The topic of the workshop this year is "Planetary interiors and system architectures". The aims of the workshop are to discuss how PLATO may help to understand planetary interiors and give new and more precise constraints on them, and to identify which open issues of planetary system architecture could be solved by PLATO's future measurements. We will also discuss what was learned from earlier (CoRoT, Kepler/K2, TESS, and ground-based measurements) related to system architectures and how the observations are confronted by theory.
PLATO Week 10 will now be held remotely from the 26th to 28th of May 2020.
PW10 is being organised by the Konkoly Observatory of the Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences and the PMC.
Owing to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the decision has been made to move the meeting online; the conference will be conducted using WebEx (access provided by ESA).
The schedule for the meeting has been updated following this change. Please go to the PLATO Week 10 website for more details. A detailed agenda for the meeting will be available nearer the time.
Heike Rauer, PLATO Consortium Lead, today circulated a message to all PMC members regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. You can see the full message by clicking on the title of this news item.
At the PSM Office, we echo Heike's message, and hope that everyone stays safe and well during this period of uncertainty.
The first major review of PSM activity, the L2/L3 Requirements Review, was closed-out on the 9th of March 2020.
This internal review, which was run completely by the PLATO Mission Consortium, assessed the requirements for the L2 & L3 data processing pipelines, the systems that take PLATO light curves and identify planetary candidates, confirm planetary systems, and derive stellar properties.
Although a large number of action items remain to be completed, this review is considered a success by all involved. Thank you to everyone who took part, in any capacity.
The first major review of PSM activity, the L2/L3 Requirements Review, successfully kicked-off on Friday 29th November. This internal review, which is run completely by the PLATO Mission Consortium and has only limited input from ESA, is assessing the requirements for the L2 & L3 data processing pipelines, the systems that take PLATO light curves and identify planetary candidates, confirm planetary systems, and derive stellar properties.
The initial phase of the review concludes on the 20th of December, and the review runs until the end of February 2020.
WP12 (STESCI) are holding their third workshop in Barcelona, Spain, between 19th and 22nd November 2019.
STESCI currently includes over 100 researchers from 11 different countries, across Europe, North America, and South America. Its activities are spread over 53 sub-work packages, which tasks have been defined. However scientific issues remain to be debated in order to ensure optimized determination of stellar parameters with the accuracy required by the mission, yet unreached.
This workshop intend to gather STESCI members, with the aim of discussing and taking decisions about the best scientific options to derive stellar parameters with the uncertainties requested by the PLATO mission.
For more information, please see the workshop's website.
PLATO ESP2019, "Single, Shallow, and Strange transits", is being held at the University of Warwick, UK, between 2nd and 4th September 2019.
Following on from the first PLATO ESP workshop in Marseille in 2018, this workshop will discuss the photometric signatures produced by unusual transiting objects.
More information can be found at https://platoesp.org/, including a link to the registration form. Spaces are limited!
The first batch of charge-coupled devices (CCDs) to be flown on ESA’s PLATO space observatory was accepted by ESA last month. This is an important milestone on the road to creating a groundbreaking spacecraft that will detect Earth-sized exoplanets in orbit around distant stars.
The CCDs will be a key element of the largest digital combined camera ever flown in space. This camera will receive light from 26 telescopes, all mounted on a single satellite platform. The first 20 CCDs for PLATO were accepted for delivery by ESA in mid-March, and the remaining 84 detectors will be delivered in further batches before the end of 2020.
“The delivery of the first detectors at this time is important because it secures the early availability of one of the key elements of the whole mission,” said Bengt Johlander, the PLATO Payload Manager for ESA.
For more details, see ESA's press release: http://sci.esa.int/plato/61280-delivery-of-first-detectors-for-platos-exoplanet-mission
On March 27th a successful close-out meeting for the Payload Preliminary Design Review (P/L-PDR) was held at ESTEC, with ESA certifying that PLATO has achieved all the criteria necessary to pass the review.
The PMC leadership would like to thank the whole team for the enormous effort they made. It was only possible to reach this important milestone thanks to the consistently high motivation and desire to succeed that is present at all levels of the consortium.
In 2021 we will have the Payload Critical Design Review (P/L-CDR) and with the Camera Series Production Readiness milestone to deal with. Before that, however, we must complete the ongoing Unit PDRs.
The PLATO mission consortium has a new website - https://platomission.com/
The new website provides an overview of the PLATO mission, information about the different groups involved, science goals and requirements, development work, mission timeline, etc.
For general information about PLATO, please use the new website. PSM-specific news and updates will continue to be made available through this website.
OHB System AG, a subsidiary of Bremen-based space and technology group OHB SE has been selected as prime contractor for the science mission PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars (PLATO) by the European Space Agency (ESA).
During the development and the production of the PLATO satellite, OHB System will have access to the contribution of a core team consisting of Thales Alenia Space (France and UK) and RUAG Space (Switzerland)(source: OHB System AG).
The prime selection together with the upcoming Instrument Preliminary Design Review (IPDR) are important milestones towards the completion of the development phase and the start of the implementation phase next year.
The PSM review of the onboard data processing algorithms continues.
Following the delivery of the final reports to the PDC Office and the Performance Team, the PSM Office have been working with those groups to address the action items arising from the reports. Several of these have now been closed, but there are some outstanding issues that urgently need attention. Of these, the most important is the question of scientific testing to show that the algorithms fulfil the mission's science requirements.
The PSM Office circulated an email update regarding this question, with information about how PSM members can contribute to this effort. Please get in touch via email if you have not received this.
Information, and a list of next steps, is available on the Reviews page of the Members-only area (click the title of this news item)
Myriad updates have been made to the website over the last week. These include updates to the PSM members-only area; please click the title of this item for more details.
Brief reports for PLATO Week 4 (Summer 2017) and PLATO Week 5 (Autumn 2017) are now available through the Meetings page. Both PLATO Weeks included a large number of sessions that were relevant to the PSM.
The presentations from these meetings are available from the PLATO Sharepoint (sign-in required). Those relevant to the PSM will be made available through the Meeting Documents page (PSM members only, sign-in required).
ESA's Science Programme Committee have agreed to adopt PLATO into the Science Programme moving forwards. Mission adoption is a big milestone for PLATO, and marks the move from a blueprint mission into a fully-realised concern.
This decision is just reward for all of the hard work put in by the PLATO team over the last several years.