Europe’s newest planet-hunting satellite opens its eyes for the first time

by admin on Feb 03, 2020
Image Source : ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA)’s new exoplanet-hunting tool, the Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS), has opened its eyes to observe the universe for the first time.

The ESA released the CHEOPS satellite in December 2014. Ever since it has been orbiting the planet at an altitude of 700 kilometers (435 miles) while researchers have done numerous examinations to see to it, all the parts were working as they should.

” Soon after the launch on December 18, 2019, we tested the communication with the satellite,” Willy Benz, professor of astrophysics at the University of Bern and professor of the CHEOPS objective, clarified in a statement. “After that, on January 8, 2020, we started the commissioning, that is, we started the computer, carried out examinations, as well as launched all the components.”

The examinations worked out, with no problems reported. Yet there was still one large difficulty for Benz and his coworkers: Opening up the cover of the area telescope, which protects the instrument throughout the launch. “We were now looking forward excitedly and with a little uneasiness to the following definitive action: the opening of the CHEOPS cover,” Benz stated.

On Wednesday, January 29, the cover was opened for the very first time. “The cover was opened by sending out electrical energy to warm an element which held the cover closed,” Benz described. “The warmth flawed this aspect as well as the cover sprung open. A retaining component captured the cover. Thanks to the dimensions of the sensors mounted, we knew within minutes that whatever had worked as prepared.”

Currently, CHEOPS can begin its goal of observing exoplanets, particularly, to search for habitable worlds. “In the following two months, many celebrities with and also without planets will be targeted to analyze the measurement precision of CHEOPS under various conditions,” Benz stated.

We shouldn’t need to wait long to see the first CHEOPS pictures of space. CHEOPS has taken thousands of photos already, although these were all black since the cover was shut, so the scientists currently could adjust the tool.

Although it will take a while for the scientists to confirm that the CHEOPS satellite is running correctly in every method, there need to be images available to view soon, according to David Ehrenreich, CHEOPS job scientist at the University of Geneva: “We expect to be able to assess as well as publish the first pictures within 1 or 2 weeks,” he stated.