APACHE Project’s News
Three members of the APACHE tribe will participate next week to the Second Workshop Extreme Precision Radial Velocities, at the Yale University.This a very important meeting for all the exoplanet hunter community, as testified by the large number of participants. Among the many topics covered, it will be particularly interesting to listen new experiences from other groups concerning the challenges set by the M-dwarfs beloved by the APACHEs. The atmospheric activity of M-dwarfs, but not only them, can be of big concern for the detection of Keplerian signals due to small-mass planets in the radial velocity time series.
See you in Yale!
The Apache Project has been presented at the National workshop dedicated to the research on extrasolar planets in Italy, held in Roma on 5-7 November 2014. The meeting was organized in the framework of the National Project WOW. The scientific programme and the slides of the talks can be downloaded here.
Jean Marc Christille, PhD student at the Università degli Studi di Perugia and member of the staff of the APACHE Project, attended the Workshop on Autonomous Observatory Software – RTS2 that took place in Lijiang (China) on 22-26 July 2014, sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Science with several other partner institutions and associations.
Christille was the only speaker from Italy. He held the oral presentation “The APACHE project: cool operational management system for a photometric transit search around cool stars” on Wednesday, July 23, for the Session III “APPLICATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF RTS2″.
The open source observatory manager RTS2, created by the Computer Science researcher Petr Kubanek (Institute of Physics in Prague, Czech Republic), is a proper choice for the high-level software control of the APACHE five-telescope system, including dynamic scheduling of the observations.
Christille was given 50 minutes for his talk. He mostly focused on the hardware and software solutions that have been identified and implemented for the APACHE survey, and also showed some results of the first observing seasons. In addition, he described the work for the future application of RTS2 to the International Telescope Maffei (ITM), a project led by University of Perugia aimed at building and operating an automated telescope at the Concordia Research Station located at Dome C on the Antarctic Plateau. Finally, he depicted the connections of this kind of fundamental science with the Technology Transfer projects of the Research Unit Atlas, based at the OAVdA.
The talk was very appreciated by the participants, with final questions lasting 20 minutes. The presentation (7.8 MB, pdf) can be downloaded here.
Mario Damasso will attend the meeting Exclimes III – The diversity of planetary atmospheres in Davos (Switzerland). He will present a poster about the APACHE Project, showing some results of the first observing season.
Planets transiting their parent M dwarf are very important targets for studying their atmosphere, and APACHE is expected to provide a relevant contribution in this field by detecting new exoplanets.
The 3rd GAPS Project progress meeting has been held in Palermo on 24-25 October 2013, to present the last results of this relevant observing program conducted at TNG with the HARPS-N spectrograph and discuss future strategies for all the sub-programs. The APACHE team contributed with two talks, presented by A. Sozzetti and M. Damasso, introducing the audience to the APACHE survey and presenting the preliminary results about the targets jointly observed by GAPS and APACHE. The APACHE photometry could efficiently help in characterizing the activity of the M dwarfs and interpreting the spectroscopic data, possibly making the road to the detection of small mass planets less difficult.
This week end we had the great pleasure to have as our guest Zhaoxiang QI (Kevin, for friends) from the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is visiting our colleagues of INAF-OATo for two months, and he has been accompained to OAVdA by Mario Lattanzi, one of the members of the Apache tribe working in Torino. Kevin is an associate researcher expert in astrometry. He has worked for the LAMOST telescope (http://www.lamost.org/public/?locale=en) by providing astrometric support (pointing, tracking and guiding of the telescope and its focal plane, fiber positioning, survey strategy assisting…). Moreover, he provided astrometric support also for LUT, a Lunar-based Ultraviolet Telescope (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2011ScChG..54..558C). Kevin has showed great interest for the APACHE project and we spent some time together discussing in front of the telescope array. Unfortunately, due to the bad weather conditions, he could not see the telescopes in action. We thank Kevin for his visit and we invite him for another occasion, this time under a clear sky!
Andrea Bernagozzi, scientific researcher at the OAVdA and member of the APACHE research team, will give on Monday, March 25th a talk about extrasolar planets for a refresher course oriented towards Italian high school science teachers.
The talk will be presented at 15.30 hour at the Science Museum of the University of Camerino, Italy (http://www.unicam.it/museoscienzenaturali/docfile/seminari_per%20insegnanti_2013-1-2-3.pdf).
On 8th of March we had the pleasure to host dr. ZengHua Zhang at the Astronomical Observatory Of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley (OAVdA). He has got his PhD at the Centre for Astrophysics Research (University of Hertfordshire).
ZengHua, during a brief permanence at the INAF – Astrophysical Observatory of Torino, has found the time to come to visit our Observatory and the APACHE telescope array. His research topics include the discovery and characterization of low mass stars and brown dwarfs in large area surveys, the study of the physical properties of disk and halo with benchmarks in binary systems, and the search for the extreme ultracool objects in near-infrared surveys. He gave a very interesting seminar for the OAVdA staff about the ultracool dwarfs in the Galactic Halo (see the picture, of course ZengHua is the one in the middle!), leaving us with an increased curiosity about such celestial objects and about the possibility of existence of planets orbiting ultracool dwarfs.
Here it is the personal Web page of ZengHua.
As recently reiterated in a paper by C. D. Dressing and D. Charbonneau (The Occurrence Rate of Small Planets around Small Stars, http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.1647), looking for habitable planets around low-mass stars is a very promising research field. The APACHE Project is working on it every night, when the sky collaborates. Since August, some of the M dwarfs stars observed by the APACHE telescopes are targets also observed by the spectrograph HARPS-N, hosted by the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) at the top of La Palma island in the Canary archipelago, in the framework of the very ambitious, challenging and long-term observational programme GAPS (Characterizing the Global Architectures of Planetary Systems).
The APACHE Project will be presented at the “Hot Planets and Cool Stars” meeting which will be held at the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics in Garching (Germany), from 12 to 16 November (http://www.mpe.mpg.de/events/ropacs-2012/Home.html).
Alessandro Sozzetti will have a talk on Tuesday 13th, and Jean Mark Christille will present the poster “THE APACHE Survey Hardware and Software Design: Tools for an Automatic Search of Small-size Transiting Exoplanets”.