Proceedings of the 4th HELAS International Conference: "Seismological Challenges for Stellar Structure"
4th HELAS International Conference
1 au 5 février 2010
[en] Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics ; Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
[en] The PLATO satellite mission project is a next generation ESA Cosmic Vision satellite project dedicated to the detection of exo-planets and to asteroseismology of their host-stars using ultra-high precision photometry. The main goal of the PLATO mission is to provide a full statistical analysis of exo-planetary systems around stars that are bright and close enough for detailed follow-up studies. Many aspects concerning the design trade-off of a space-based instrument and its performance can best be tackled through realistic simulations of the expected observations. The complex interplay of various noise sources in the course of the observations made such simulations an indispensable part of the assessment study of the PLATO Payload Consortium. We created an end-to-end CCD simulation software-tool, dubbed PLATOSim, which simulates photometric time-series of CCD images by including realistic models of the CCD and its electronics, the telescope optics, the stellar field, the pointing uncertainty of the satellite (or Attitude Control System [ACS] jitter), and all important natural noise sources. The main questions that were addressed with this simulator were the noise properties of different photometric algorithms, the selection of the optical design, the allowable jitter amplitude, and the expected noise budget of light-curves as a function of the stellar magnitude for different parameter conditions. The results of our simulations showed that the proposed multi-telescope concept of PLATO can fulfil the defined scientific goal of measuring more than 20000 cool dwarfs brighter than mV =11 with a precision better than 27 ppm/h which is essential for the study of earth-like exo-planetary systems using the transit method.