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See detailThe EChO science case
Tinetti, Giovanna; Drossart, Pierre; Eccleston, Paul et al

in ArXiv e-prints (2015), 1502

The discovery of almost 2000 exoplanets has revealed an unexpectedly diverse planet population. Observations to date have shown that our Solar System is certainly not representative of the general ... [more ▼]

The discovery of almost 2000 exoplanets has revealed an unexpectedly diverse planet population. Observations to date have shown that our Solar System is certainly not representative of the general population of planets in our Milky Way. The key science questions that urgently need addressing are therefore: What are exoplanets made of? Why are planets as they are? What causes the exceptional diversity observed as compared to the Solar System? EChO (Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory) has been designed as a dedicated survey mission for transit and eclipse spectroscopy capable of observing a large and diverse planet sample within its four-year mission lifetime. EChO can target the atmospheres of super-Earths, Neptune-like, and Jupiter-like planets, in the very hot to temperate zones (planet temperatures of 300K-3000K) of F to M-type host stars. Over the next ten years, several new ground- and space-based transit surveys will come on-line (e.g. NGTS, CHEOPS, TESS, PLATO), which will specifically focus on finding bright, nearby systems. The current rapid rate of discovery would allow the target list to be further optimised in the years prior to EChO's launch and enable the atmospheric characterisation of hundreds of planets. Placing the satellite at L2 provides a cold and stable thermal environment, as well as a large field of regard to allow efficient time-critical observation of targets randomly distributed over the sky. A 1m class telescope is sufficiently large to achieve the necessary spectro-photometric precision. The spectral coverage (0.5-11 micron, goal 16 micron) and SNR to be achieved by EChO, thanks to its high stability and dedicated design, would enable a very accurate measurement of the atmospheric composition and structure of hundreds of exoplanets. [less ▲]

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See detailAstrospheres of young and old stars
Cox, N.; Decin, L.; Marle, A.J. et al

Poster (2013, October)

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See detailMESS (Mass-loss of Evolved StarS), a Herschel Key Program
Groenewegen, M. A. T.; Waelkens, C.; Barlow, M. J. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2011), 526

MESS (Mass-loss of Evolved StarS) is a Guaranteed Time Key Program that uses the PACS and SPIRE instruments on board the Herschel Space Observatory to observe a representative sample of evolved stars ... [more ▼]

MESS (Mass-loss of Evolved StarS) is a Guaranteed Time Key Program that uses the PACS and SPIRE instruments on board the Herschel Space Observatory to observe a representative sample of evolved stars, that include asymptotic giant branch (AGB) and post-AGB stars, planetary nebulae and red supergiants, as well as luminous blue variables, Wolf-Rayet stars and supernova remnants. In total, of order 150 objects are observed in imaging and about 50 objects in spectroscopy. This paper describes the target selection and target list, and the observing strategy. Key science projects are described, and illustrated using results obtained during Herschel's science demonstration phase. Aperture photometry is given for the 70 AGB and post-AGB stars observed up to October 17, 2010, which constitutes the largest single uniform database of far-IR and sub-mm fluxes for late-type stars. [less ▲]

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See detailResults from the Herschel Key Program MESS
Groenewegen, M. A. T.; Waelkens, C.; Barlow, M. J. et al

in Kerschbaum, F.; Lebzelter, T.; Wing, R. F. (Eds.) Why Galaxies Care about AGB Stars II: Shining Examples and Common Inhabitants. ASPC 445 (2011)

MESS (Mass loss of Evolved StarS) is a Herschel Guaranteed Time Key Program that will image about 100, and do spectroscopy of about 50, post-main-sequence objects of all flavours: AGB stars, post-AGB ... [more ▼]

MESS (Mass loss of Evolved StarS) is a Herschel Guaranteed Time Key Program that will image about 100, and do spectroscopy of about 50, post-main-sequence objects of all flavours: AGB stars, post-AGB stars, planetary nebulae, luminous blue variables, Wolf-Rayet stars, and supernova remnants. In this review the implementation and current status of MESS is outlined, and first results are presented. [less ▲]

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