Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars
About PLATO 2.0 mission

Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars or PLATO 2.0 - a space observatory under development by the European Space Agency (ESA) for launch around 2024. The main goal for this apparatus is to determine the main parameters (radius, mass, density and age) of extrasolar planets. This survey will try to answer the most important astrophysical questions: how planet systems form and evolve and are there more systems with planets like earth, including those with the ability to sustain life.


This space observatory consists of 34 small aperture telescopes (32 with 25 sec readout cadence and 2 with 2.5 sec candence), which grant us the wide field-of-view (2232 deg2) and large range of photometric magnitude (4-16mag). By watching planetary transits across bright (4-11 mag) stars and using asteroseismology, it will be possible to determine the main parameters of the planets. PLATO 2.0 will observe red and yellow dwarf stars, also subgiant stars, where water can exist in liquid state. Throughout this missions, PLATO will observe up to 1,000,000 stars and detect and characterize hundreds of small planets and thousands of gas giants out of habitable zone. The missions will provide the first-large catalog of bulk planets with their accurate parameters.

Project objective and tasks

The main objective of the scientific preparation of PLATO 2.0 mission is to create a most promising input catalogue of targets. Majority of the large telescopes are situated in the southern hemisphere, also there are performed the largest spectroscopic surveys (Gaia-ESO, APOGEE) and do not contain brightest objects in their star-lists.

This adds a significant importance to the equipment operated at the Vilnius University, Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy (ITPA VU).  The main source of the catalogue will be results from the ESA-Gaia mission, however supplementary material will be collected from other catalogues and onground instruments.


Our objective is to prepare the dataset of brightest targets of the most-northern regions of the sky-sphere for the northern PLATO 2.0 fields employing our spectroscopic and photometric instruments, taking advantage of their northern geographical location. In order to achieve the objective we will perform three tasks:

  • we will scan the selected parts of the sky with large field photometric equipment, searching for variability of the brightest stars (mV < 11);
  • we will provide the main spectroscopic information for the selected regions of the sky for the P2 and P3 and partially P1 PLATO catalogues (mV < 8);
  • using the information from the first two tasks, we will make a deep analysis of the targets-of-allert using both spectroscopic and photometric tools simultaneously.