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Talk by Anastasia Kokori and Angelos Tsiaras on Zoom and live on our YouTube channel. Visitors always welcome. This will be a fascinating talk about an area where amateurs can make a major contribution in what is the leading edge of astronomical research at the moment – exoplanets.

Anastasia is the co-ordinator of the ARIEL ExoClock project and the project manager for the ExoWorlds Spies project. She is the Astrographic Officer at Greenwich Royal Observatory and also a planetary scientist in training at Birkbeck University of London.

Angelos is the co-ordinator of the Ground-based photometric follow up working group of ARIEL and he is a Post-doctoral resereacher at UCL (University College London) and the UCL Center for ExoChemistry Data (CSED) in London. His main research interest is spectroscopic and photometric exoplanet observations.

In this presentation we will describe the key points of the ARIEL mission and how the ExoClock project is contributing.

ARIEL: the future of exoplanets and how the public can get involved

ARIEL is a space mission led by the European Space Agency, planned to lunch in 2028. It will be the first dedicated mission to measure the chemical composition of many exoplanets. The main objective of ARIEL is to study in detail a large diverse sample of exoplanets orbiting different types of stars. The key science questions ARIEL will address are:

  • What are exoplanets made of?
  • How do planets and planetary systems form?
  • How do planets and their atmospheres evolve over time?

Understanding worlds beyond the Earth is a key issue for humanity and it concerns everyone, not only the scientific communities. We strongly believe that research and science is an effort that everyone can take part in.

ARIEL will observe around 1000 transiting exoplanets and for this survey to be as efficient as possible, we need to have a good knowledge of the expected transit time of the planets observed. This is where small and medium-scale telescopes can contribute significantly. To better organise this effort, we have created the project ExoClock that is open to everyone, professional and amateur astronomers as well as members of the public can get involved and contribute to the mission.