Principal Investigator: Nuno Santos

Project Manager: Alexandre Cabral


European Research Council (ERC): FIERCE/Grant agreement ID: 101052347.

Detection and characterisation of other Earths, i.e., planets with the physical conditions to hold liquid water and thus potential life-sustaining environments, is a bold objective of present-day astrophysics. This quest is, however, severely challenged by astrophysical “noise” from the host stars. Overall, existing methods to tackle this problem have proven insufficient in reaching the required precision levels.

To approach this problem we are building a dedicated facility, the Paranal solar ESPRESSO Telescope (PoET). This telescope will be linked to the ESPRESSO spectrograph (ESO) and allow to simultaneously acquire disc-integrated (Sun-as-a-star) and arcsecond-level, disc-resolved observations of the Sun at a spectral resolution R ~ 200,000. The main scientific motivation behind PoET is to tackle the problem of “stellar noise” in high-resolution spectroscopy observations, both in precise radial velocities and in transmission/emission spectroscopy. This will be fundamental for the success of present and future efforts in exoplanet research, including those linked with ELT instrumentation (e.g., ANDES) and ESA missions (e.g., PLATO). Furthermore, PoET will be able to contribute to other science cases, including solar and stellar physics. First light is expected in Q2 2025.