The SPECULOOS transit survey: hunting for red worlds
Institut STAR / Université de Liège
Making possible the detailed study of temperate terrestrial exoplanets holds the promise of revolutionizing our understanding of rocky worlds by enabling us to assess their diversity at the galactic scale, not only in terms of orbits, but also in terms of atmospheric compositions, surface conditions, and habitability. In this context, the ~1000 brightest ultracool (M7-type and latter) dwarf stars are particularly interesting targets for a transit search, as their proximity combined to their small size and faint luminosity should make possible the characterization of transiting temperate planets as small as the Earth -and even smaller- with upcoming facilities. In this talk, I will present SPECULOOS (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars), a new photometric survey that aims to explore for transits these faint nearby stars. It is based on a network of 1m-class robotic telescopes whose main nodes will be the SPECULOOS-South and SPECULOOS-North Observatories, each composed of several 1m telescopes optimized for high-precision photometry in the very-near-infrared (0.7 to 1 microns). While the installation of SPECULOOS-North has just been initiated at Teide Observatory (Tenerife), SPECULOOS-South is finishing its commissioning at Paranal Observatory (Chile) and will start its operations in January 2019. The high scientific potential of the project is already well established, thanks to the discovery of the amazing TRAPPIST-1 (aka SPECULOOS-1) system by its prototype ongoing in Chile since 2011. In the second part of my talk, I will review the ongoing characterization of this fascinating planetary system, and its exciting perspectives.
Date: Thursday, 25 October 2018 Time: 11:30 Where: Université de Montréal Pavillon Roger-Gaudry, Local D-460 Contact: Björn Benneke & René Doyon