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Type of talk
Dr. Sebastián Zúñiga-Fernández
Astrobiology Research Unit - Université de Liège - Belgium
Date and Time of Talk
The SPECULOOS (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars) project aims to perform a transit search on the nearest (< 40 pc) ultracool (<3000K) dwarf stars. The project is based on a network of 1m robotic telescopes, composed by 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. 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 SPECULOOS target list contains a homogeneous selected sample of close-by low-mass and ultracool stars.The targets have been selected as low-mass dwarfs starting from the Gaia DR2 catalogue, which has been cross-matched with the 2MASS point-source catalogue. Beside conducting observations of targets from the SPECULOOS input catalog, a fraction of the available observing time of the SPECULOOS network is used to carry out different science goals, the so-called annex programmes. A large annex programme is the support of space based transit search surveys such as K2 and TESS through the follow-up of transit candidates of late-type dwarfs.The upcoming Gaia DR3 release will largely improve the parallaxes and colours for the 40 pc sample, thus encompassing more targets that were excluded in our original target list.


In these talks we are going to present our observation strategy, management of our archive and scientific products. We will discuss the first results of the survey and the synergy of our programs with the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and JWST
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About Speaker

Dr. Sebastián Zúñiga-Fernández studied Electronic Engineering at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (UTFSM) in Valparaíso, Chile. Also, he completed his MSc degree in Electronic Engineering at the same university. He started his PhD studies in Astrophysics in 2017 at Universidad de Valparaiso. The same motivation led him to apply to the ESO Studentship in 2018 where he was awarded with a two year contract to conduct my PhD research under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer in the ESO offices in Santiago de Chile. Nowadays he is working as post-doctoral fellow at the University of Liège in Belgium. He divide his work between being the manager of the SPECULOOS South Observatory (SSO)  and conducting my research, mainly searching for exoplanets in ultra-cool stars and multiplicity studies in the young nearby stellar associations.

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Host Name
Santosh Joshi
Host Phone (ext/mob)