Extrasolar Planet – discovery and follow up
The science goal is the observation of extrasolar planets from robotically controlled ground based telescopes. SON intends to directly detect and monitor these extrasolar planets while developing techniques to enable the search for bio-signatures capable of supporting life. The science premise is that observation of the planet’s atmosphere or surface will provide evidence of habitable planets.
Minor planets – Astrometric All Sky Survey
Minor planets research fall into two key categories, asteroids and comets. Photometric observations of these objects are required to determine the orbit around in the Solar system and the composition of the object.
SON/Space observations can be classified into four categories:
- Near Earth Objects, or asteroids whose orbit is inside the orbit of the Earth
- Main Belt Objects, where the orbit is in the main belt of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter
- Trans Neptunian Objects, or asteroids whose orbits is in the outer solar system past Neptune.
- Minor Planets.
The main purposes of Minor Planet project is to find out the orbits of asteroids and meteoroids and their origin and composition. For the minior plants we are also investigating atmosphere and monitoring orbit of moons.
During an observation of a specific object we attempt to determine its specific orbital data and record its luminosity and light curve.
Flare Star – discovery and follow up
A flare star is a variable star which can undergo unpredictable dramatic increases in brightness for a few minutes. It is believed that the flares on flare stars are analogous to solar flares in that they are due to magnetic reconnection in the atmospheres of the stars. The brightness increase is across the spectrum, from X rays to radio waves.
Most flare stars are dim red dwarfs, although recent results indicates that less massive brown dwarfs might also be capable of flaring. The more massive RS Canum Venaticorum variables (RS CVn) are also known to flare, but it is understood that these flares are induced by a companion star in a binary system which causes the magnetic field to become tangled.Additionally, nine stars similar to the Sun have also been seen to undergo flare events. It has been proposed that the mechanism for this is similar to that of the RS CVn variables in that the flares are being induced by a companion, namely an unseen Jupiter like planet in a close orbit . As of 2000, nine superflare stars have been found, some of them similar to our Sun. The energy released during such a flare is 100 times to 10 million times that of the sun’s largest coronal mass ejections. When a superflare occurs it may last from a few hours to a week.
All Sky Monitor
Continuous monitoring of 36 targets (exoplanets, superflares, red & Brown dwarfs flare stars, G-Type stars, detection giant flares)