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Areas of Research

The research and mission preparation carried out by the PMC Science Management (PSM) is separated into five branches. For more information on the work that they're carrying out, please follow the links in the title of each branch.

Top-level organisation chart for PLATO Science Management (PSM)

(To download this organisation chart, please visit the Organisation Charts page)

Exoplanet Science

Leader: Don Pollacco (University of Warwick, UK)

Research activities include:

  • Development of methods and algorithms for transit detection (as well as other planet detection methods).
  • Determination of planets' bulk parameters.
  • Lightcurve filtering by the characterisation of intrinsic noise.
  • Identification, and elimination, of false positive signals such as eclipsing binaries, background blends, etc.

Stellar Science

Leader: Marie-Jo Goupil (LESIA, Paris Observatory, France)

Research activities include:

  • Oscillation mode inversion techniques.
  • Production of state-of-the-art grids of stellar evolution models that include new physical ingredients (such as rotation, internal waves, magnetic fields, etc.).
  • Asteroseismology.
  • Study, and modelling, of stellar atmospheres.

Target / Field Characterisation & Selection

Leader: Giampaolo Piotto (University of Padova, Italy)

Research activities include:

  • Identification of optimal fields for PLATO to observe.
  • Assessment of primary, secondary, and tertiary stellar samples.
  • Interfaces with large spectroscopic, photometric, and astrometric catalogues, including those from Kepler, TESS, and Gaia.
  • Assessment of field and source contaminants for PLATO targets.

Ground-based Observation Programme (GOP)

Leader: St├ęphane Udry (Geneva Observatory, Switzerland)

Research activities include:

  • Follow-up studies, including:
  • Identification of follow-up facilities, both in existence and currently being planned.
  • Development of an international follow-up procedure, including organisation and coordination of follow-up observations.
  • Assessment of the efficiency of the follow-up process.

Complementary Science

Leader: Conny Aerts (University of Leuven, Belgium)

Research activities cover science outside the core mission goals, and include:

  • Binary and multiple stars, pulsating stars, and stars with extreme mass loss.
  • Young stellar objects and debris disks.
  • Transient phenomena and accretion physics.
  • Galactic structure and extragalactic science.