Extrasolar Planets

Extrasolar Planets


G. Piotto, F. Marzari, V. Nascimbeni, S. Ortolani


L. Borsato, V. Granata, L. Malavolta, M. Montalto

PhD students

L. Colombo, L. Pino, D. Sicilia

Research Activity

Just over twenty years after the discovery of the first exoplanet, thousands of planetary systems have been discovered and studied. The properties of the identified planets points towards a large diversity, whose origin is still unknown. We are still at the beginning of a huge, fascinating work that is now entering the phase of characterizing the structure of the exoplanets, their atmospheres and modeling of the formation mechanisms.
Our research team is involved at the highest international levels in many of these projects:

1) We are part of the Science Team of the Guaranteed Time Observations (GTO) with HARPS-N, the spectrograph at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, for  the follow-up of transiting candidate planets identified by the Kepler/K2 and Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) missions, and the discovery of Earth-like planets around nearby stars.

2) Within the Global Architecture of Planetary Systems (GAPS) national project we have the responsibility of the search for exoplanets in stellar clusters with HARPS-N.

3) We are members of the CHEOPS (CHaracterizing Exoplanets Satellite) Science Team, CHEOPS is an ESA S-class mission to be launched in the second half of 2018, and we are currently preparing its observations.

4) We are members of the ESA Science Team and of the board of the consortium that will build PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Stellar Oscillations), an ESA M-class satellite to be launched in 2026. We have the responsibility of preparing the PLATO Input Catalog (PIC), that will contain all the target stars for exoplanet search.

5) We are responsible for the TASTE project (The Asiago Search for Transit Timing Variations of Exoplanets) searching for exoplanets with the transit time variation (TTV) technique.

6) We have developed the code TRADES (TRAnsits and Dynamics of Exoplanetary Systems) for the TTV analysis for the TASTE project, Kepler/K2 data and future CHEOPS and PLATO missions.

7) We are working on the data reduction of the Kepler/K2 mission searching for transiting exoplanets and preparing the data reduction software for the future TESS mission.

8) We are leading several observational projects aimed at studying the atmospheres of transiting planets at high (HARPS-N) and medium resolution (Hubble Space Telescope, Very Large Telescope and Large Binocular Telescope). Our team is developing data reduction pipelines.

9) We are developing models of planetary atmospheres to explain observed spectra and to rebuild the thermodynamic properties of the higher part of the atmosphere, which is linked to extreme phenomena of planetary evaporation.

10) We are using N-bodies and hydrodynamic codes (PLUTO, Fargo and Phantom) to study the evolution of planetary systems and the dynamical interactions between planets, debris disk and gaps. The stability of discovered multi-planet systems is analyzed by the method of frequency analysis or via direct numerical integration.

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