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First Plato camera

Written by  Tuesday, 11 June 2024 07:00
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First Plato camera Image: First Plato camera

The activities to integrate Plato’s cameras have started in OHB’s Space Centre & Optics facility in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. One by one the cameras are attached to Plato’s optical bench, the surface that keeps all cameras pointed in the right direction. The first of 26 cameras has now been successfully integrated.

Plato will use 24 ‘normal’ cameras and 2 ‘fast’ cameras to look at more than 100 000 stars and search for planets around them. The mission uses the transit method to characterise these planets; when planets pass by the face of their host stars, they dim the starlight we receive. By studying this dimming effect, we can learn about a planet’s size, mass and density.

During the four-year mission, the cameras will use a special pointing technique to look at the same stars for a long period. Together, the 26 cameras can image about 5% of the sky at once.

Plato's scientific payload, consisting of the cameras and electronic units, is provided through a collaboration between ESA and the Plato Mission Consortium. This Consortium is composed of various European research centres, institutes and industries.

Find out more about Plato

[Image description: Photograph of Plato’s optical bench in a cleanroom. The optical bench is black and has four rows of what looks like white cushions. One of these white slots holds a camera. The camera has a black cylindrical body with a white cone-shaped head.]

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