SAC's leading role in exoplanet research secured into the TESS era with recent grant from Aarhus University Research Foundation for Victor Silva Aguirre.
When the TESS satellite is launched, hopefully in August 2017, it will produce large amounts of data on the tiny variations in brightness of millions of stars within the planned 2 years of operation. In order to convert these data into orbits and physical parameters of exoplanets around the nearer and brighter stars, detailed knowledge of the stars themselves is crucial.
To avoid a bottleneck problem once the data from the satellite starts pouring in algorithms for interpretations of the observational data are needed in advance. With a grant of Dkr 1.662.501 from the Aarhus University Research Foundation (AUFF) SAC's assistant professor Victor Silva Aguirre has the funding to begin this work, assisted by a new postdoc and additional nodes for the Grendel computer cluster at AU. In his application Victor emphasizes: "... that timely execution of this project will put AU at the frontier of exoplanet research worldwide in the upcoming years, and that the tools developed as part of this research will form the basis of the data analysis of ESA PLATO mission, the next European exoplanet survey satellite to be launched in 2024."
Just in time for this announcement a full scale model of TESS has been put on display at the entrance area of the Department for Physics and Astronomy. A small satellite promising a giant leap into an era of tenths of thousands of exoplanets!