Europlanet Science Congress 2022
Palacio de Congresos de Granada, Spain
18 – 23 September 2022
Europlanet Science Congress 2022
Palacio de Congresos de Granada, Spain
18 September – 23 September 2022
Future instruments to detect and characterise extrasolar planets and their environment


Future instruments to detect and characterise extrasolar planets and their environment
Co-organized by MITM
Convener: Camilla Danielski | Co-conveners: Elodie Choquet, Lorenzo V. Mugnai, Enzo Pascale
| Thu, 22 Sep, 17:30–18:30 (CEST)|Room Albéniz+Machuca, Fri, 23 Sep, 10:00–11:30 (CEST)|Room Albéniz+Machuca
| Attendance Thu, 22 Sep, 18:45–20:15 (CEST) | Display Wed, 21 Sep, 14:00–Fri, 23 Sep, 16:00|Poster area Level 2

Session assets

Discussion on Slack

Orals: Thu, 22 Sep | Room Albéniz+Machuca

Chairpersons: Camilla Danielski, Lorenzo V. Mugnai
Petr Kabath, Leonardo Vanzi, Artie Hatzes, Eike Guenther, Rafael Brahm, Jan Janik, Takeo Minezaki, Marek Skarka, and Raine Karjalainen

We will present a new instrument PLATOSpec which will be installed at E152 telescope at La Silla Observatory, Chile in 2023. PLATOSpec will be an echelle spectrograph with resolving power of 70000 capable of monitoring wavelength range from 380 to 680 nm with an expected accuracy in radial velocities around 3 m/s. PLATOSpec will have a blue sensitive chip, therefore, we will be able to provide a valuable information about the stellar activity. Main aims of PLATOSpec will be the ground based follow-up of currently TESS and later PLATO missions planetary candidates. We will be able to contribute mainly to detection and characterization of hot Jupiters and to discrimination of false positives and to determination of stellar parameters.

How to cite: Kabath, P., Vanzi, L., Hatzes, A., Guenther, E., Brahm, R., Janik, J., Minezaki, T., Skarka, M., and Karjalainen, R.: PLATOSpec a new spectrograph for the PLATO targets follow-up, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-124,, 2022.

Giovanna Tinetti, Paul Eccleston, Theresa Lueftinger, Jean-Christophe Salvignol, Salma Fahmy, and Caterina Alves de Oliveira and the Ariel team

Ariel, the Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, was adopted as the fourth medium-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision programme to be launched in 2029. During its 4-year mission, Ariel will study what exoplanets are made of, how they formed and how they evolve, by surveying a diverse sample of about 1000 extrasolar planets, simultaneously in visible and infrared wavelengths. It is the first mission dedicated to measuring the chemical composition and thermal structures of hundreds of transiting exoplanets, enabling planetary science far beyond the boundaries of the Solar System. The payload consists of an off-axis Cassegrain telescope (primary mirror 1100 mm x 730 mm ellipse) and two separate instruments (FGS and AIRS) covering simultaneously 0.5-7.8 micron spectral range. The satellite is best placed into an L2 orbit to maximise the thermal stability and the field of regard. The payload module is passively cooled via a series of V-Groove radiators; the detectors for the AIRS are the only items that require active cooling via an active Ne JT cooler. The Ariel payload is developed by a consortium of more than 50 institutes from 16 ESA countries, which include the UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, and a NASA contribution.

This presentation provides an overall summary of the science and instrument design for Ariel and presents the many activities that the Ariel team have planned to engage the science community at large and the public prior to launch. These include the Ariel Dry-Run program and citizen-science programs such as ExoClock and the Ariel Data Challenges.

How to cite: Tinetti, G., Eccleston, P., Lueftinger, T., Salvignol, J.-C., Fahmy, S., and Alves de Oliveira, C. and the Ariel team: Ariel: Enabling planetary science across light-years, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1114,, 2022.

Billy Edwards, Ben Wilcock, Max Joshua, Marcell Tessenyi, Ian Stotesbury, Richard Archer, and Yoga Barrathwaj Raman Mohan

The Twinkle Space Mission is a space-based observatory that has been conceived to measure the atmospheric composition of exoplanets, stars and solar system objects. The satellite is based on a high-heritage platform and will carry a 0.45 m telescope with a visible and infrared spectrograph providing simultaneous wavelength coverage from 0.5 - 4.5 μm. The spacecraft will be launched into a Sun-synchronous low-Earth polar orbit and will operate in this highly stable thermal environment for a baseline lifetime of seven years.

Twinkle will have the capability to provide high-quality infrared spectroscopic characterisation of the atmospheres several hundred bright exoplanets, covering a wide range of planetary types. Additionally, ultra-precise photometric light curves will accurately constrain orbital parameters, including ephemerides and TTVs/TDVs present in multi-planet systems.

Twinkle is available for researchers around the globe in two ways:

1) joining its collaborative multi-year survey programmes, which will observe hundreds of exoplanets and thousands of solar system objects; and

2) accessing dedicated telescope time on the spacecraft, which they can schedule for any combination of science cases.

I will present an overview of Twinkle’s capabilities and discuss the broad range of targets the mission could observe, demonstrating the huge scientific potential of the spacecraft. Furthermore, I will highlight the work of the Science Team of the Twinkle exoplanet survey, showcasing their science interests and the studies into Twinkle’s capabilities that they have conducted since joining the mission. Finally, I will discuss ongoing, and upcoming, early career programmes related to the Twinkle mission.

How to cite: Edwards, B., Wilcock, B., Joshua, M., Tessenyi, M., Stotesbury, I., Archer, R., and Barrathwaj Raman Mohan, Y.: The Twinkle Space Mission's Extrasolar Survey, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-597,, 2022.

Daniel Angerhausen, Eleonora Alei, Sascha Quanz, and The LIFE Initiative

Summary: The ESA Voyage 2050 Senior Committee [0] recommends that “launching a large mission enabling the characterisation of the atmosphere of temperate exoplanets in the mid-infrared should be a top priority for ESA within the Voyage 2050 timeframe.”  The Large Interferometer For Exoplanets (LIFE) mission concept is a project that addresses this science question. LIFE was initiated in Europe with the goal to consolidate all necessary efforts and define a realistic roadmap that will lead to the launch of a large, space-based MIR nulling interferometer. This mission should be able to investigate the atmospheric properties of a large sample of (primarily) terrestrial, temperate exoplanets. In this contribution we present a status report and new results from the LIFE Mission initiative.


Artist's impression of the LIFE concept.

The LIFE mission concept: 


LIFE is an ambitious space mission with unparalleled scientific capabilities optimised for the direct detection and atmospheric characterization of hundreds of exoplanets, dozens of which will be terrestrial, temperate and possibly hospitable to life as we know it [1,2,3]. As a formation-flying mid-infrared nulling interferometer, LIFE is located in L2 and consists of 4 collector spacecraft with 2 - 3.5 m apertures and a combiner spacecraft. The observing wavelength range is 4 - 17.5  μm  (requirement) / 3 - 20  μm (goal) and the required spectral resolution is 35 (req.) / 50 (goal). The total mission lifetime is 5-6 years (requirement) including a search phase (2.5 years), that will be used to detect hundreds of planets, and a characterization phase (up to 3.5 years) that will be used for a detailed investigation of atmospheric diversity and the search for biosignatures. Other science cases taking advantage of a mid-IR interferometer in space will be possible (up to 20%; tbc.).


New Results and Progress: 

Over the past two years, the LIFE community grew significantly into an initiative with more than 150 collaborators from all over the world. We will discuss present ]the current structure of teams and working groups. Furthermore, we will summarise a number of new science results and trade-off studies that have been carried out and present a short overview of ongoing and future activities. 

References:[0] [1] Quanz, S. P., Kammerer, J., Defrère, D., et al. 2018, Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VI, 10701,107011I. [2] Defrère, D., Léger, A., Absil, O., et al. 2018, Experimental Astronomy, 46, 543. [3] Quanz,S. P.,et al. 2019. , arXiv e-prints arXiv:1908.01316

How to cite: Angerhausen, D., Alei, E., Quanz, S., and LIFE Initiative, T.: Status and progress of the Large Interferometer For Exoplanets (LIFE) mission, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1148,, 2022.

Orals: Fri, 23 Sep | Room Albéniz+Machuca

Chairpersons: Elodie Choquet, Enzo Pascale
Francois Bouchy, Francois Wildi, and Jonay I. González Hernández

The Near-InfraRed Planet Searcher (NIRPS) is a new ultra-stable near-infrared spectrograph installed on ESO 3.6-m Telescope in La Silla, Chile. Aiming to achieve a precision of 1 m/s, NIRPS is operating together with HARPS. NIRPS has been designed to explore the exciting prospects offered by the M dwarfs, focusing on three main science cases: 1) High-precision RV survey of M dwarf aiming at detecting Earth-like planets in the habitable zone; 2) Mass (and density) measurements of planetary candidates orbiting M dwarfs from transit surveys, and 3) Atmospheric characterization of exoplanets via transmission spectroscopy. To achieve its science goals, NIRPS is operating in the Y-, J- and H-bands with continuous coverage from 0.97 to 1.8 μm. It will ensure high radial velocity precision and high spectral fidelity corresponding to 1 m/s in less than 30 min for an M3 star with H = 8.4. NIRPS is part of a new generation of adaptive optics (AO) fiber-fed spectrographs. NIRPS uses a 0.4-arcsecond multi-mode fiber, half that required for a seeing-limited instrument, allowing a spectrograph design that is half as big as that of HARPS, while meeting the requirements for high throughput and high spectral resolution. A 0.9-arcsecond fiber is used for fainter targets and degraded seeing conditions. The entire optical design is oriented to maximize high spectral resolution, long-term spectral stability and overall throughput. The instrument covers the 0.97 to 1.81 μm domain on 69 spectral
 orders with a spectral resolution of 80,000 recorded on a Hawaii 4RG 4096 × 4096 infrared detector. In return for the manpower effort and financial contributions of the consortium to design, build, maintain and operate NIRPS for five years, ESO will grant the consortium a period of Guaranteed Time Observation (GTO) corresponding to 40% of the 3.6-m Telescope time, leaving ample time for community-driven science topics. Its first light was performed in May 2022. We present here the performance of the spectrograph and first tests on sky.

How to cite: Bouchy, F., Wildi, F., and González Hernández, J. I.: The new Near-Infrared Adaptive-Optics assisted high-resolution NIRPS spectrograph on the ESO 3.6m, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-937,, 2022.

Pedro Amado, Jesus Aceituno, Francisco Pozuelos, and Jose Luis Ortíz

In the past half-century, a new generation of successively ever larger and more sophisticated telescopes and instruments have ushered in a golden age of remarkable results in astronomy. This road is taking us to the age of the extremely large telescopes (ELTs). Riding on this wave and contributing to it is exoplanet research. We are characterising the orbit and mass of exoplanets with Doppler measurements which, combined with the transit technique provide estimates of bulk densities and compositions. The picture is completed with upcoming space missions such as ARIEL or PLATO. To prepare the road into this new era, we propose to build the MultiArray of Combined Telescope (MARCOT). This large aperture telescope consists of multiple identical low-cost telescopes, at a fraction of the cost of building an ELT. We propose MARCOT to support science cases, such as time-domain astronomy in general and exoplanet research in particular, that are too expensive or impractical to conduct on ELTs. MARCOT will be linked through optical fibres combined by a novel Multi-Mode Photonic Lantern (MM-PL) into a MM fibre that will feed a single high-resolution echelle spectrograph, optimized for extreme-precision radial velocity measurements. We will present the status of the project focusing on the work carried out towards the conceptual design and the prototype of MARCOT, which is being built at the CAHA Observatory (Almeria, Spain), to feed the CARMENES spectrograph.

How to cite: Amado, P., Aceituno, J., Pozuelos, F., and Ortíz, J. L.: MARCOT: A new approach to a large aperture telescope with a novel multimode photonic lantern, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-312,, 2022.

Rafael Luque and the MAROON-X instrument team

MAROON-X is a red optical EPRV spectrograph on the 8m Gemini North telescope that has been in regular science operations for the last two years. Depending on the amount of time available and the interests of the organizers, I could report on the current performance of the instrument, science results, future plans, and/or lessons learned. In terms of performance, the instrument continues to deliver radial velocity precision at the sub 30 cm/s level. We have found that many field M dwarfs have activity levels well below 1 m/s on short timescales, thus opening up the possibility of detecting very small planets on orbits out to the distance of the circumstellar habitable zone with intensive observational campaigns. I will report science results from a large, homogeneous follow-up program for TESS's M dwarfs, a blind search for planets around the nearest M dwarfs, and a selection of results from community use of the instrument. We will be upgrading the instrument with a laser frequency comb to improve the long-term calibration later this year. We also have the approval to install a solar telescope feed for the instrument. A key lesson learned is the importance of continual assessment and adjustment of the calibration (i.e., don't "set it and forget it") in the EPRV regime.

How to cite: Luque, R. and the MAROON-X instrument team: An update on MAROON-X, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-90,, 2022.

Nicolas Lodieu, Jeff Kuhn, Gil Moretto, Rafael Rebolo, Ye Zhou, Maud Langlois, and Kevin Lewis

Technology now exists to enable large optical 
systems that are capable of resolving and measuring faint sources not 
accessible with current remote sensing instruments and detectors. The possibility 
of creating ground-based telescopes at the 50m-scale with sufficient wavefront control 
to both fully overcome the effects of the atmosphere, but with exquisite coronagraphic 
capability starting at the telescope entrance pupil, means we may solve some of the most 
fundamental cross-cutting scientific questions: like, "is there life outside of the solar system?".

The IAC is part of a consortium with the University of Hawaii and Universities in Lyon 
to develop the technologies needed for the next generation telescopes aimed at direct 
imaging of exoplanets around bright stars: the "ExoLife Finder (ELF)" telescope.
We have a detailed design for a 3.5-m diameter prototype, nicknamed Small-ELF, to
be built and installed at Teide Observatory by 2025. I will present the technological
and scientific challenges of such telescope.

How to cite: Lodieu, N., Kuhn, J., Moretto, G., Rebolo, R., Zhou, Y., Langlois, M., and Lewis, K.: Small-ELF: a propotype for the future ExoLife Finder hybrid optical telescope, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-510,, 2022.

Heleri Ramler, Mihkel Kama, Colin Folsom, Anna Aret, and Tõnis Eenmäe

Tartu Observatory telescopes offer unique guaranteed access to objects in the Northern hemisphere. The observational facilities include a 1.5- m and 0.6-m classic Cassegrain reflectors, and 0.31-m remotely controllable telescope .

 The 1.5 m telescope is currently equipped with a long-slit Cassegrain spectrograph used for stellar characterisation. Historically, the objects of interest have been massive stars but we are now developing new research direction and expanding the list of targets to exoplanet- and disk-hosting stars.

We have started evaluating our capabilities to characterise host stars spectroscopically to determine their parameters and composition. In 2020, we carried out a pilot study of a TESS candidate planet host, which we found to have a rare, strong chemical peculiarity [1]. This also allowed us to prepare our tools, workflow, and end-to-end analysis. We are also contributing to the European Space Agency Ariel space mission by offering stellar activity monitoring.

The 0.6-m and 0.31-m telescopes are utilised for photometric measurements and the 0.31-m one in particular has been a workhorse for exoplanet transit monitoring. Since 2020, we have made significant preparations to develop and prove our transit observation capabilities: we have observed more than 70 transit light curves. About  half of them have been submitted to ExoClock to contribute to Ariel mission planning.

Concerning future upgrades, Tartu Observatory will have new instruments by the middle of 2023. The upgrades include procuring a medium resolution echelle spectrograph (projected bandwidth 390 nm to  750 nm, R= 25 000) and new photometer (Johnson-Cousins BVRI and SDSS filters) for the 1.5-m telescope, which will not only enhance our capabilities in both spectroscopic and photometric data retrieval of host stars. In addition, a new remote control system of the telescope will be installed and improvements on instrumentation for the 0.6-m and 0.31-m photometric telescopes will be made. 

This presentation will give an overview of our facilities, and of current and future spectroscopic and photometric capabilities.



  • “A rare phosphorus-rich star in an eclipsing binary from TESS”, Colin P. et al., A&A 658 A105 (2022), DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202142124

How to cite: Ramler, H., Kama, M., Folsom, C., Aret, A., and Eenmäe, T.: Observational Facilities and Stellar Characterization Capabilities at Tartu Observatory, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1149,, 2022.

Lorenzo V. Mugnai, Enzo Pascale, Ahmed F. Al-Refaie, Andrea Bocchieri, Andreas Papageorgiou, and Subhajit Sarkar

ExoSim 2 is a time-domain simulator for exoplanet observations. The software can simulate exoplanetary transit, eclipse and phase curve observations from ground and space-based instruments. Such simulation can capture temporal effects, such as correlated noise and systematics on the light curve. The simulator will produce spectral images like those produced by an actual observation.

ExoSim 2 has been developed for the Ariel Space Mission, to assess the impact of astronomical and instrumental systematic on astrophysical measurement, and to prepare the data reduction pipeline against realistic data sets. ExoSim 2 output can be utilised by different data reduction methods, not only to determine the best pipeline strategy to remove the systematics in the measurements but also to assess the confidence level of retrieved quantities.

ExoSim 2 is a refactored version of ExoSim: an end-to-end simulator that models noise and systematics in a dynamical simulation. The first version of ExoSim (Sarkar et al. 2020) was developed for the Ariel Space Mission, then adapted to the James Webb Telescope and presented to the community as JexoSim (Sarkar et al. 2019 and Sarkar et al. 2021).

ExoSim 2 is meant to be easier to use than its predecessor and largely customizable. It is completely written in Python, tested against Python 3.7+, and follows the object-oriented philosophy. It comes with an installer, documented examples, a comprehensive guide, and almost every part of the code can be replaced by a user-defined function, which allows the user to include new functionalities to the simulator.

We believe that ExoSim 2 is a versatile tool, which can be used for the development of instruments other than Ariel, or to assess the impact of different astronomical or instrumental systematics.

How to cite: Mugnai, L. V., Pascale, E., Al-Refaie, A. F., Bocchieri, A., Papageorgiou, A., and Sarkar, S.: ExoSim 2. The new time-domain simulator applied to the Ariel space mission, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-370,, 2022.

Display time: Wed, 21 Sep 14:00–Fri, 23 Sep 16:00

Posters: Thu, 22 Sep, 18:45–20:15 | Poster area Level 2

The Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (Ariel) sensitivity and performance
Enzo Pascale, Paul Eccleston, Giorgio Savini, and Giovanna Tinetti
Heike Rauer, Conny Aerts, Magali Deleuil, Laurent Gizon, MarieJo Goupil, Ana Heras, Miguel Mas-Hesse, Isabella Pagano, Giampaolo Piotto, Don Pollacco, Roberto Ragazzoni, Gavin Ramsay, and Stephane Udry

PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) is ESA’s M3 mission and designed to detect and characterize extrasolar planets by high-precision, long-term photometric and asteroseismic monitoring of a large number of stars. PLATO will detect small planets around bright stars, including terrestrial planets in the habitable zone of solar-like stars. With the complement of radial velocity observation from ground, planets will be characterized for their radius, mass, and age with high accuracy. PLATO will provide us the first large-scale catalogue of well-characterized small planets up to intermediate orbital periods, relevant for a meaningful comparison to planet formation theories and to better understand planet evolution. It will make possible comparative exoplanetology to place our solar system planets in a broader context. PLATO will study host stars using asteroseismology, allowing us to determine the stellar properties with high accuracy, substantially enhancing our knowledge of stellar structure and evolution.

PLATO is scheduled for a launch date end 2026. Following the successful Critical Milestone Review, ESA has given green light for the implementation of the spacecraft and the payload, which includes the serial production of its 26 cameras. This presentation will give an overview of the PLATO science goals, of its instrument and mission profile status.

How to cite: Rauer, H., Aerts, C., Deleuil, M., Gizon, L., Goupil, M., Heras, A., Mas-Hesse, M., Pagano, I., Piotto, G., Pollacco, D., Ragazzoni, R., Ramsay, G., and Udry, S.: The PLATO Mission, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-453,, 2022.

Andrea Bocchieri, Lorenzo V. Mugnai, and Enzo Pascale

The Ariel Space Mission is the M4 mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision program and will observe a large and diverse sample of exoplanetary atmospheres in the visible to the near-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Assessing the impact of diffraction, aberrations, and related systematics on the Ariel optical performance before having a system-level measurement is paramount to ensuring that the optical quality, complexity, costs, and risks are not too high. 

Several codes offer Physical Optics Propagation (POP) calculations, although generally, they are not easily customizable, e.g., for Monte Carlo simulations, are not free access and publicly available, or have technical limitations such as not providing support for refractive elements. 

PAOS, the Physical Ariel Optics Simulator, is an end-to-end Physical Optics Propagation (POP) model of the Ariel telescope and subsystems. PAOS implements Fresnel diffraction in the near and far fields to simulate the propagation of the complex electromagnetic wavefront through the Ariel optical chain and deliver the realistic PSFs vs. lambda at the intermediate and focal planes.

PAOS is written with a full Python 3 stack and comes with an installer, documented examples, and an exhaustive guide. PAOS is meant to be easy to use, generic and versatile for POP simulations of optical systems other than Ariel’s, thanks to its generic input system and built-in GUI providing a seamless user interface and simulations. 

How to cite: Bocchieri, A., Mugnai, L. V., and Pascale, E.: Predicting the optical performance of the Ariel Telescope using PAOS, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-618,, 2022.

Caroline Haslebacher, Marie-Estelle Demory, Brice-Olivier Demory, Marc Sarazin, and Pier Luigi Vidale

Exoplanet observations with ground-based instruments are subject to climate conditions on Earth. Therefore, one important aspect in site selection for ground-based telescopes is the study of current climate conditions to optimise observing time. Since anthropogenic climate change is leading to a significant increase in global mean surface temperature, consequences for ground-based telescopes are likely [1], yet remain mostly unknown. The timescale needed to select the site and build a large telescope until its first light can easily take up more than a decade. In the case of the European Extremely Large Telescope, this process takes approximately 20 years. Together with a typical lifetime of 30 years for large telescopes, climate change  potentially degrades site conditions assessed during the site selection process noticeably until end of lifetime.
We present a study of eight sites around the world where ground-based telescopes are already in operation. The selected sites are namely Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii (USA), San Pedro Mártir in Baja California in Mexico, the three Chilean sites Cerro Paranal, Cerro Tololo and La Silla, La Palma on the Canary Islands (Spain), Sutherland in South Africa and Siding Spring in Australia. From the observatories hosting these telescopes, we collect in situ measurements of temperature, specific and relative humidity, precipitable water vapour, cloud cover and astronomical seeing. We compare these in situ measurements to the fifth generation atmospheric reanalysis (ERA5) of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and score the agreement. A reanalysis is a global and continuous assimilation of observations combined with weather and climate modelling and provides a connecting link between measurements and global climate models (GCMs). 
For a more holistic comparison and to study future trends, we use an ensemble of six of the highest resolution GCMs available with a horizontal grid spacing of 25-50 km. These GCMs are provided by the High-Resolution Model Intercomparison Project and developed as part of the EU Horizon 2020 PRIMAVERA project. We compare ERA5 climate output against historical GCM simulations and score their agreement. With this evaluation, we gain insights into the trustworthiness of future GCM simulations that were run up to 2050. Finally, we perform a Bayesian analysis of future trends. 
We find that ERA5 provides a good representation since it agrees well with in situ measurements over most sites. The comparison between ERA5 and PRIMAVERA shows a good agreement for temperature, specific humidity and precipitable water vapour, for which we find increasing future trends leading to a deteriorating quality of astronomical observations. For relative humidity, cloud cover and astronomical seeing, the confidence in future trends projected by the GCMs is low, due to an inadequate representation of climate conditions in comparison to ERA5. Also, the trends found for these variables are not significant.
With this study, we show that climate change should be considered an important aspect of instrumentation design for ground-based telescopes, especially for high-contrast imaging observations.


[1] Cantalloube, F., Milli, J., Böhm, C. et al. The impact of climate change on astronomical observations. Nature Astronomy 4, 826–829 (2020).

How to cite: Haslebacher, C., Demory, M.-E., Demory, B.-O., Sarazin, M., and Vidale, P. L.: Climate change drives degradation of future observations with ground-based telescopes, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-791,, 2022.

Evangelia Kleisioti, Dominic Dirkx, Marc Rovira Navarro, and Matthew Kenworthy

There are more than 200 moons in the Solar System, however no exomoon detection has been confirmed so far. Extrasolar gas giants are expected to host exomoons, which could scale in mass with their parent planet up to Earth radii. Two of the gas giant planet-moon systems are in long-lived mean motion resonances (MMRs) and it is expected that the latter would prevail in extrasolar systems as well. Since tidal dissipation depends on the orbital and physical properties of the system, there is a chance that Tidally Heated Exomoons (THEMs; Peters and Turner 2015) are detectable with MIRI/JWST in infrared (IR) wavelengths.

ε Eridani b is one of the few known exoplanets with mass greater than 1 MJ and angular separation larger than 0.5 arcseconds on the sky. The proximity to Earth makes ε Eridani b a suitable candidate for the search of THEMs in the IR. Taking the Jovian satellites as an archetype for an exomoon system around ε Eridani b, this would mean that an MMR between two or more exomoons could make them detectable for larger timescales.

We explore the parameter space of exomoon orbital and physical properties, conclude which values would make an exomoon around ε Eridani b detectable with MIRI/JWST and investigate the interior structures of the putative exomoon that are consistent with these properties. Our model assumes a layered, radially symmetric moon, consisting of a silicate mantle and a liquid core. We present our results for the Andrade rheology model, different heat transfer mechanisms (mantle convection, heat piping), and constrain feasible interior structures and orbital parameters for several values of (observed) surface heat fluxes.

How to cite: Kleisioti, E., Dirkx, D., Rovira Navarro, M., and Kenworthy, M.: Could we observe exomoons around ε Eridani b?, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-818,, 2022.

Gustavo Alonso, Andres Garcia-Perez, Javier Perez-Alvarez, and Alejandro Fernandez-Soler

The mechanical, structural and thermal design of the Telescope Assembly of ARIEL

  • Garcia-Perez, J. Perez-Alvarez, A. Fernandez-Soler, G. Alonso (*)

Instituto de Microgravedad Ignacio Da Riva (IDR/UPM), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), 28040 Madrid, Spain

(*) corresponding author


The Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (ARIEL) is a space project of the European Space Agency (ESA) Cosmic Vision program [1]. The main goal of this mission is the observation of exoplanets by the transit spectroscopy technique, where the hot and warm gas giants and super-Earth exoplanets represent its main targets [2]. The main scientific purpose is to obtain a better understanding of the chemical composition of the atmospheres of the observed exoplanets, which will allow the development of a greater knowledge in the early formation of planets. The spacecraft is planned to be launched in 2029, with an expected mission life of approximately 4 years in an L2 orbit [1].

The selection of an optimized sample of exoplanets observable by the ARIEL mission with equilibrium temperatures in the 350-500 K rang has been the basis for designing the telescope and optical system, which represent the larger unit of the spacecraft’s payload, as well as the detection chain. The preliminary design of the ARIEL mission at the end of Phase A is described in [3], which reports the main design drivers and the requirements needed to achieve the objectives of the project.

The ARIEL spacecraft is composed by a Payload Module (PLM) and a Service Module (SVM). The main payload subsystem is the telescope assembly (TA), which is a Cassegrain layout with 4 main mirrors attached to the structure defined by an optical bench (OB) and a telescope beam (TB), as it is shown in Figure 1. The telescope, through a common optical system, feeds two module channels accommodated on the Optical Bench. The PLM components must be passively cooled to 40–70 K during the operational phase to secure the best conditions for an adequate performance. The TA main parts are made of the same material (aluminium alloy 6061-T6), to achieve a high degree of uniformity and minimize the thermoelastic deformation.



Figure 1. Perspective view of the ARIEL telescope structure.

The purpose of this paper is to ilustrate with the example of ARIEL, the complexity and relevance of the mechanical, structural and thermal design of state-of-the-art instruments for scientific missions, and the importance of the close cooperation between scientists and engineers to achieve the mission goals.

The thermomechanical design of the Telescope Assembly is closely related to the optical design, and given the operating conditions of the Ariel payload, is a key driver to guarantee the successful performance of the mission. This is particularly critical for ARIEL, taking into account the harsh environment of this mission. The satellite is going to be subjected to highly variable thermal loads, which lead to changing thermal environments that affect the design of the scientific instrumentation. The harsh thermal environment of the mission makes the thermal design complex, taking into account the strict requirements of ARIEL. However, this harsh environment provides also an opportunity to gather information to validate first and then improve the thermomechanical design and the simulation tools in a very different range of situations [4].

The mechanical design of the telescope has to consider also manufacturing and integration criteria. The OB component (Figure 2) is, without a doubt, one of the most complex components, from a design point of view, since it fulfills different functions as a support structure, such as:

  • It is the support system for 90% of the telescope's optical system, especially the primary mirror (M1 mirror).
  • Defines the support points of the complete telescope to the service module (SM) by means of its connection to the rear bipod system.
  • Contains the cavity to provide restraint for on-board experiments on the telescope.
  • Serves as a support system for the cryogenic wiring of the telescope.
  • Provides the interface with part of the system for transportation and handling in integration operations.

The design of this component must satisfy the interface needs of the components that are integrated into it, which requires interaction with most of the scientists’ teams.

The structural design involves the creation of numerical models for structural analysis of the Telescope Assembly to evaluate the mechanical behavior in the most severe environments during the space mission. The structural analyses allow the best selection of the design parameters that reach the minimum structural mass while at the same time assure the fulfillment of the structural requirements. An important outcome of the structural design is the definition of the static and dynamic loads that are specified to some ARIEL subsystems such as the M2 Mechanism and the Baffles.



Figure 2. Front and side view of the ARIEL Telescope Assembly structure.


  • Pascale, E., Bezawada, N., Barstow, J., et al The ARIEL Space Mission. In: MacEwen HA, Lystrup M, Fazio GG, Et al. (Eds) Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave. SPIE, p 16 (2018)
  • Tinetti, G., Drossart, P., Eccleston, P., et al.: A chemical survey of exoplanets with ARIEL. Exp. Astron. 46, 135–209 (2018).
  • Puig, L., Pilbratt, G., Heske, A., et al.: The phase a study of the ESA M4 mission candidate ARIEL. Exp. Astron. 46, 211–239 (2018).
  • García-Pérez, A., Alonso, G., Gómez-San-Juan, A. et al. Thermoelastic evaluation of the payload module of the ARIEL mission. Exp Astron (2021).

How to cite: Alonso, G., Garcia-Perez, A., Perez-Alvarez, J., and Fernandez-Soler, A.: The mechanical, structural and thermal design of the Telescope Assembly of ARIEL, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-861,, 2022.

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