ESA Launches Cheops Space Telescope To Detect Distant Exoplanets

Date:Dec 24, 2019


The European Space Agency (ESA) launched the OPS-SAT satellite from Courou, French Guiana on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. The satellite was launched with the Cheops telescope.

Upon reaching space, OPS-SAT will use solar panels and UHF antennas, and then radiate signals back to Earth.

A report from the ESA mission control team asked the radio amateurs to capture satellite signals and find their place in space.

The OPS-SAT has a height of only about 30 cm and is designed for experimental purposes. Although small, satellites carry computers ten times stronger than ESA spacecraft and high-resolution cameras and radios.

The Cheops telescope focuses on known exoplanets, which are between Earth and Neptune. The Cheops telescope will observe these planets as they pass between their parent star and the telescope, including using its high accuracy Photometers measure the size of celestial bodies in detail.cheops_space_telescope

This satellite will observe how an exoplanet reflects starlight at multiple stages in its orbit, in a manner similar to how people on the earth perceive the moon's moon phase. These observations will learn more about the exoplanet's day to night The heat transfer process reveals the characteristics of the planet's atmosphere, such as the presence of clouds and their composition.