EAS Publications Series
Volume 2, 2002GAIA: A European Space Project
|Page(s)||207 - 214|
|Section||Section IV: Sub-Stellar Objects: Brown Dwarfs and Exo-Planets|
|Published online||25 September 2002|
O. Bienaymé and C. Turon (eds)
EAS Publications Series, 2 (2002) 207-214
The GAIA Astrometric Survey of Extra-Solar Planets
Osservatorio Astronomico di Torino,
10025 Pino Torinese, Italy
2 Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
3 University of Pittsburgh, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
The ESA Cornerstone Mission GAIA, to be launched prior to 2012 and with a nominal lifetime of 5 years, will improve the accuracy of Hipparcos astrometry by more than two orders of magnitude. GAIA high-precision global astrometric measurements will provide deep insights on the science of extra-solar planets. The GAIA contribution is primarily understood in terms of the number and spectral type of targets available for investigation, and characteristics of the planets to be searched for. Several hundreds of thousands of solar-type stars (F-G-K) within a sphere of ~200 pc centered on our Sun will be observed. GAIA will be particularly sensitive to giant planets (MP ~ MJ) on wide orbits, up to periods twice as large as the mission duration, the potential signposts of the existence of rocky planets in the Habitable Zone. Thousands of new planets might be discovered, and a significant fraction of those which will be detected will have orbital parameters measured to better than 30% accuracy. By measuring to a few degrees the relative inclinations of planets in multiple systems with favorable configurations, GAIA will also make measurements of unique value towards a better understanding of the formation and evolution processes of planetary systems.
© EAS, EDP Sciences, 2002
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