Astronomy on Tap Leiden (Online): November 30th, 2020

Our next online event will take place on Monday 30 November at 20:00 CET, streaming live on our YouTube channel!

Ana Heras and Kate Isaak will tell us all about the European Space Agency missions PLATO and CHEOPS, searching for and characterizing planets beyond our Solar System! So grab a drink, get comfortable, and join the discussion for an evening of informal astronomy, fun games, and a chance to win cool prizes! All ages and backgrounds are welcome.

Watch the YouTube stream here.

For more information see our event page on Facebook.

Ana Heras: “In quest of habitable worlds: The ESA PLATO mission”

Ana is an astronomer at the European Space Agency. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Barcelona. After a stay at NOAA in the United States, she joined ESA at ESTEC as Research Fellow. At the end of her fellowship, she was appointed to the science operations team of the Infrared Space Observatory and moved to the ESA site in Madrid. Some years later she came back to The Netherlands and became deputy Project scientist of the Herschel Space Observatory, a mission to study the universe in far-infrared light. She continued her career as coordinator for ESA’s Astronomy missions. In the last years, Ana has worked in the fascinating field of exoplanets, initially in the study phase of the CHEOPS satellite, and currently as Project scientist of the PLATO mission. PLATO is an ESA space mission that will search for exoplanets, with its main focus on terrestrial planets orbiting up to the habitable zone of bright Sun-like stars. PLATO will use the transit method combined with ground-based observations to find and characterise exoplanets, and will reveal the properties of their host stars by analysing the stellar oscillations. To achieve its scientific objectives, the PLATO satellite will carry 26 telescopes that will cover a large area of the sky, allowing the observation of hundreds of thousands of stars. The satellite will operate in an orbit at 1.5 million kilometres from the Earth. PLATO is currently in development, with a planned launch date in 2026.

Kate Isaak: “CHEOPS: First-step characterisation of known exoplanets”

Kate is an astrophysicist from the UK working at ESTEC, the technical heart of the Europoean Space Agency in Noordwijk. She studied Natural Sciences/Physics at the University of Cambridge. Her PhD – on building sensitive instruments and studying star formation in very distant galaxies at wavelengths longer than light and shorter than radio – marked the start of her fascination with working at the interface of astronomy and engineering, where she has continued to work ever since. Kate works as the project scientist on the characterising exoplanet satellite, CHEOPS – a small, but carefully crafted satellite built in a partnership between ESA and Switzerland and designed to make a first-step characterisation of known planets orbiting stars other than our own. Working with scientists and engineers from all over Europe, her task is to ensure that scientists get the best possible science from the satellite. In her talk, Kate will tell us about CHEOPS – what exactly it is, why we need it and the science that the mission will enable.


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