The Complementary Science program deals with research that fall outside the core scientific goals of PLATO, but that will benefit from the capabilities of the mission.
PLATO's large field of view, coupled with its high precision (~10-5mag) and fast cadence, will provide a unique database of stellar variability observations. Previous missions such as MOST, CoRoT, and Kepler have shown the value of such observations; each has produced important scientific advances in fields welly beyond their primary science goals. This additional scientific output came at no additional cost to the missions named, and has greatly increased their scientific impact in terms of refereed journal articles and conference proceedings.
In light of this, it makes sense to add a Complementary Science program to PLATO's Science Consortium. Such a program will make use of
- Data obtained for primary targets;
- Targets which were not primary science targets, but happen to be observed at the same time;
- Targets moving through the field of view, like asteroids or comets.
The initial set of research topics included in the Complementary Science program have been defined, and cover a broad swathe of astronomical research:
- Binary and multiple star systems
- Pulsating stars
- Magnetic stars
- Stars with rotational variation
- Stars exhibiting extreme mass loss
- Young stellar objects
- Stars with debris disks
- Structure of the Milky Way galaxy
- Transient phenomena (such as supernovae)
- The physics of accretion
- Extragalactic science
- Follow-up of Complementary Science targets
Within these top-level areas there is space for a large range of research activities. Researchers interested in participating in the Complementary Science program are invited to register here.