ExoClock @ EPSC

EPSC2020 - Virtual

As part of EPSC2020, we organised a special meeting dedicated to Ariel and contributions by amateur astronomers through ExoClock. This meeting includes presentations by several people involved in Ariel and discuss/ mention different aspects of the mission. This meeting is available online and open to everyone who would like to watch. Please share it with interested people who would like to get a better idea of Ariel and the support that ExoClock provides to the mission.

We are really glad that the PI of the mission, Giovanna Tinetti gave a talk and was there to answer questions raised by attendees.

The meeting also gives information for people that would like to join ExoClock and it gives an overview of how ExoClock operates.

We would like to thank also Martin Crow, an active ExoClock participant and member of the BAA, who shared his experience during the meeting, his presentation was really supportive for other exoplanet observers.

You can access the presentation here, or in our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LVpcjij6oE

Recorded on Mon, 28 Sep, 18:00–20:00 (CEST) via Zoom

More than 4000 exoplanets have been discovered so far, and this number is still growing rapidly! However, we know very little about them: What are they made of? What are the conditions there? How did they form and how did they evolve? ESA’s M4 mission, Ariel, will observe spectroscopically around 1000 exoplanets to further characterise their atmospheres and try to answer these questions.

Exoplanets is one of the few fields that amateur astronomers and the public can contribute significantly, with observations with small and medium scale telescopes. I the case of Ariel, small and medium size telescope are valuable, in order to plan the observations as efficiently as possible. To achieve this, a good knowledge of the planets’ ephemerides is needed before the launch of Ariel in 2028. While ephemerides for some planets are being refined on a per-case basis, an organised effort to collectively verify or update them when necessary does not exist.

In this session, we will present the Ariel mission and will introduce the ExoClock project, an open, integrated and interactive platform with the purpose of producing a confirmed list of ephemerides for the planets that will be observed by Ariel. The project has been developed in a manner to make the best use of all available resources: observations reported in the literature, observations from space instruments and, mainly, observations from ground-based telescopes, including both professional and amateur observatories. To facilitate inexperienced observers and at the same time achieve homogeneity in the results, we created data collection and validation protocols, educational material and easy to use interfaces, open to everyone. ExoClock was launched in September 2019 and now counts over 160 participants, mostly amateur astronomers, who’ve already observed 1200 transits for 170 exoplanets.

The session starts with Giovanna Tinetti from UCL, the Principal Investigator of the Ariel Mission, who will present the concept and the goals of the mission and continues with Athanasia Nikolaou from Sapienza who will present the prospects of Ariel for small planets. Next, Anastasia Kokori from UCL, coordinator of the ExoClock project, shares the scope and the principals of the ExoClock Project, while Martin Crow, an active ExoClock observer form the British Astronomical Association, shares his experience from observing exoplanets and participating to ExoClock. Finally, Angelos Tsiaras from UCL, coordinator of the ExoClock project, demonstrates how to analyse exoplanet observations with the dedicated, user-friendly tools developed for the project.

The Ariel mission website: www.arielmission.space
The ExoClock project website: www.exoclock.space
Educational material can be found at: www.exoworldsspies.com
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