Assisting in the hunt for Earth-like planets

Posted on 13 Oct 2017 and read 468 times
Assisting in the hunt for Earth-like planetsChelmsford-based Teledyne e2v (www.e2v.com) has been awarded a contract worth 42 million euros by the European Space Agency (ESA) to produce high-end charge-coupled device (CCD) visible-light detectors for the PLATO (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) mission to discover Earth-like planets around nearby Sun-like stars.

The PLATO instrumentation consists of 6 telescopes mounted on a single satellite platform, making it possible to look at vast areas of sky at the same time.

Each telescope will have four Teledyne e2v CCDs to detect the dimming of a star’s light when a planet passes in front of it.

During its lifetime of at least four years, the spacecraft will search for planets around hundreds of thousands of stars and precisely measure the size and mass of the planets in thousands of systems.

To date, astronomers know of several thousand planets orbiting distant stars. Many of them were discovered by the Kepler and CoRoT space missions, which were also equipped with Teledyne e2v’s CCD detectors.

Giuseppe Borghi at Teledyne e2v said: “This contract is the result of a long-standing relationship between Teledyne e2v, ESA and the PLATO science community that has led to the design and validation of these visible-light devices, which are right at the leading edge of CCD technology.”

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