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13 December 2020 Development of the SPECULOOS exoplanet search project
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SPECULOOS (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars) aims to perform a transit search on the nearest (< 40 pc) ultracool (< 3000K) dwarf stars. The project's main motivation is to discover potentially habitable planets well-suited for detailed atmospheric characterisation with upcoming giant telescopes, like the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and European Large Telescope (ELT). The project is based on a network of 1m robotic telescopes, namely the four ones of the SPECULOOS-Southern Observatory (SSO) in Cerro Paranal, Chile, one telescope of the SPECULOOS-Northern Observatory (SNO) in Tenerife, and the SAINTEx telescope in San Pedro Martir, Mexico. The prototype survey of the SPECULOOS project on the 60 cm TRAPPIST telescope (Chile) discovered the TRAPPIST-1 system, composed of seven temperate Earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby (12 pc) Jupiter-sized star. In this paper, we review the current status of SPECULOOS, its first results, the plans for its development, and its connection to the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and JWST.
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