ESA successfully launched its Cheops telescope at the French National Space Research Centre in Sa, Guyana, France, with a detailed follow-up study of distant exoplanets discovered by early space telescopes such as Kepler and TESS. The Soyuz-Frega rocket, which also carries an Italian Earth observation satellite and three cube-shaped satellites, put the Cheops telescope into orbit.
The Cheops telescope, which focuses on known exoplanets as the size of Earth and Neptune, will observe them as they pass between their parent stars and telescopes, including using their high-precision photometers to measure the size of objects in detail.
By combining information about the size of an exoplanet with mass measurements collected by other observatories, planetary scientists can calculate the average density of the exoplanet world. With this in mind, they can simulate its composition and structure, and even see if the environment on exoplanets is suitable for extraterrestrial life.
The satellite will also look at how an exoplanet reflects starlight in multiple stages in its orbit, similar to how people on Earth perceive the moon’s moon, and will hopefully shed more light on the extraterrestrial planet’s heat transfer from day to night, revealing certain features of the planet’s atmosphere, such as the presence of clouds. Even their composition.