UTC:     JD(-2400000)
ETAearth Database Home


The Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) promotes, coordinates, and carries out, within the context of programs of the European Union and other International Entities, research activities in the fields of Astronomy, Radioastronomy, Space Astrophysics, and Cosmic Physics, in collaboration with Italian Universities as well as other private and public, national and international research organizations.

In particular, INAF coordinates research activities carried out at national facilities (the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, TNG, in the Canary Islands, and the Large Binocular Telescope, LBT, on Mt. Graham, Arizona) and at 16 between research institutes and astronomical observatories on Italian soil.

The proposed project will be undertaken with the participation of two of the INAF-coordinated astronomical observatories, i.e. the Osservatorio Astrofisico di Torino (OATo) and the Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo (OAPa), and by the Fundación Galileo Galilei, in charge of managing the TNG. The latter is a non profit organization constituted by INAF, appearing as third party in the DoW of the ETAEARTH Project.



The Osservatorio Astrofisico di Torino (OATo) is one of the sixteen research structures of INAF. OATo researchers were involved in the development and use of astronomical instrumentation in the visible,near- and mid-infrared bands for conventional telescopes and interferometers, as well as in data processing programs.

Dr. Alessandro Sozzetti, Coordinator, researcher at OATo, and a member of the HARPS-N Consortium Science Team, has an established reputation as world expert in the observational field of extrasolar planets. Thanks to his early ground-breaking career achievements and scientific contributions to his own research field, he is today one of the few young scientists who can master simultaneously the difficult “arts” of micro-arcsecond (μas) astrometry, very high precision spectroscopy, and high-precision differential photometry (all needed to be at the forefront of extrasolar planet research of the next decades).



The Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo (OAPa) is one of the sixteen research structures of INAF. OAPa has a specific vocation in the field of X-ray Space Astrophysics that is still the core of the ongoing research activities. In pursuing this research line OAPa has realized the XACT facility for the development and calibration of X-ray optics, large area filters and detectors and has reached an internationally recognized reputation in the field of solar and stellar astrophysics, and more generally of multi-wavelength studies of stellar systems.

Fields of interests include solar and stellar astrophysics with special emphasis on stellar activity and variability and its effects on circumstellar environment including disks and exoplanets.

Dr. Giuseppina Micela, Astronomo Associato at INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, is one of the Italian Co-Is for the HARPS-N project. She has been member of telescope time allocation committees both for ground-based and space instruments (TNG, ESO, Chandra), of space mission science teams (Eddington, Simbol-X, PLATO, EChO), and of consulting bodies (AWG-ESA, ASI astronomy group, ExoPlanets Roadmap Advisory Team). She has been responsible of national fund allocation (ASI), and of several national grants (MIUR, INAF, ASI) and European Marie Curie Programs (FP5, FP6, FP7).


Dr. Laura Affer is a postdoctoral research fellow at OAPa. Her research is focused on high-resolution optical
spectroscopy of stars with planets, the determination of their chemical composition, photospheric parameters
(effective temperature, surface gravity, microturbulence) rotation period and rotational age (gyrochronological
age determination), kinematic properties and activity levels (identification of spectral lines affected by activity
and comparison with synthetic models).


The Fundación Galileo Galilei (FGG) is a non profit organization constituted by INAF with the aim of pursuing astronomical scientific a investigation, not only by managing the Italian Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) in its full observing time and technological development.

The FGG is collaborating with the other scientific institution on the island of La Palma to the common activities for the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory, from the maintenance of the astronomical site to the outreach activities of the observatories.

Dr. Emilio Molinari serves as director of FGG/TNG since three years with a background of optic designer and control software for telescopes and instrumentation. He is the Italian co-PI of the HARPS-N Consortium. His early contribution to the TNG visual spectro-imager DOLORES. After contributing to several aspects in the REM telescope project for the robotic follow up of gamma ray bursts with optomechanical integration and a complete suite for its telemetry archive and alert systems, he is running the Chilean facility's once 2006 and now managing the observatory together with the TNG for the Italian, Spanish and Chilean astronomical communities.


Dr. Vincenzo Guido is a postdoctoral researcher working at Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG). He has experience with
the develop of Graphic user interfaces (GUI) for infrared instruments, database and HTML website development.
He is the administrator of the ETAEARTH website and database located at the TNG.


The University of Padova (UPd), has a deep and long standing tradition in research and teaching astronomy, dating back to Galileo (who made most of his astronomical discoveries while teaching in Padova) period and even before.

Together with the nearby Padova Astronomical Observatory of the National Institute of Astrophysics, the astronomical pole in Padova is the largest ones in Italy, and covers most of the modern astrophysics research branches. In particular, both at the Department of Astronomy and at the Astronomical Observatory there are research groups working on exoplanet search, and on the development of exoplanet detection instruments (SPHERE@VLT, EPICS@ELT, PLATO).

Prof. Giampaolo Piotto is Full Professor at the University of Padova, where he is teaching "Astronomy" for the first level degree in Astronomy and Stellar Populations for the second level degree in Astronomy. His main scientific interests concern the stellar populations in open and globular clusters, and in nearby dwarf galaxies, globular cluster dynamics, cosmic distance scale, and the search for exoplanets. Giampaolo Piotto has been PI of numerous observational projects with the major observing facilities (mainly Hubble Space Telescope and ESO/VLT).


Dr. Luca Malavolta is a postdoctoral research fellow at University of Padova.
His research is focused on the determination of atmospheric stellar parameters and chemical abundances of stellar
photospheres using traditional techniques like equivalent width measurement and spectral synthesis as well as new
approaches to deal with high-resolution spectra of faint stars. He is also interested in understanding the relationship
between stellar activity and the measured photospheric parameters.


The Astronomy Department of the University of Geneva (UGe), hereafter referred to as Geneva Observatory, is the largest astronomy institute in Switzerland. Today, about half of the planets discovered by the Doppler technique has been contributed by the Geneva Observatory. This was made possible by the strong involvement in the construction of cutting-edge instrumentation, as for instance the HARPS spectrograph. More than two thirds of the Neptunes and super-Earths have been discovered using HARPS and was only made possible thanks its exceptional precision and efficiency.

The Geneva Observatory is recognized to be a leading institute in extra-solar planet science. As a consequence, team members are involved in many instrumentation projects, such as PRIMA@VLTI (lead), HARPS-N@TNG (lead, PI is Prof. F. Pepe), SPHERE@VLT (Consortium member), ESPRESSO@VLT (lead), NGTS (in collaboration with UK), SPIROU@CFHT (Consortium member), etc. Members of the team also contribute critically to the scientific definition of future space missions, in particular PLATO and TESS (Udry), and EChO (Lovis).

These project activities require a significant amount of manpower resources and have always to be put in balance with scientific activities. On the other hand, they are critical to acquire new experience and gain access to new powerful facilities in order to carry out cutting-edge science also in the future.


Nicolas Buchschacher is a computer scientist working at the astronomical observatory of Geneva university.
He has experience with database management systems and different web programming language like Java,
Javascript and php.
Nicolas is participating to the design and the implementation of the HARPS-N/GTO database as well as to the
development of visualising tools and also to a few basic data analysis tools.


The School of Physics and Astronomy is part of the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA), with whose support St Andrews has invested heavily in exoplanetary science in recent years.

The research portfolio of the permanent faculty includes planet detection via transits (Cameron) and microlensing (Horne), star and planet formation (Bonnell, Greaves, Wood), magnetic fields and stellar activity (Jardine, Cameron), and astrobiology (Greaves, Helling), covering a broad range of theory and observation. The astrophysics group has nine permanent faculty in all. There are also nine research fellows and post-doctoral assistants working in these areas, and twelve postgraduate students carrying out PhD research in these topics.

Prof Andrew Cameron is the UK Co-PI for the HARPS-N project. He is one of the founding members of the WASP consortium. WASP is the world's leading ground-based search for transiting extra-solar planets, with 75 planets confirmed by radial-velocity follow-up at the time of writing. He is an experienced radial-velocity and Rossiter-effect observer, and has led several successful proposals for WASP radial-velocity follow-up using SOPHIE at Haute- Provence and studies of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect in a large sample of WASP planets using HARPS at La Silla.


Dr. Annelies Mortier is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of St Andrews. She has experience with
high-resolution spectroscopy (from observation to analysis). She uses this both to characterize FGK stars
through a thorough spectral line analysis) as to determine the precise radial velocity (RV) in search for exoplanets.
Using various statistical tools, she works on the connection between stars and their planets (e.g. the effect of
metallicity) and the validation and recovery of periodic signals in data.


The Physics Department at Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB) has been in existence for more than 150 years and has a long and distinguished history of discovery and innovation. Exoplanet interest at QUB stems from 2002 when the management at QUB demonstrated their vision by investing in a new instrument that was being developed in the Astrophysics Research Centre (this led to significant investments from other institutions).

Dr. Christopher Watson is a lecturer in exoplanets and low mass stars at QUB, and is also one of the UK Co-Investigators on the HARPS-N project. His primary research experience is in stellar activity of low mass stars, and the development of sophisticated data analysis techniques to investigate the manifestations of magnetic activity, such as starspots.He is currently the PI of a prestigious Leverhulme Trust grant awarded in order to apply state-of-the-art 3D magneto-hydrodynamical models of solar granulation to stellar discs with the aim of quantifying (and developing algorithms to remove) sources of astrophysical noise in low-mass planet searches around so-called `quiet' stars. This work has recently led to the identification of a hitherto unrecognised source of astrophysical noise in the form of variable gravitational redshifts that has the potential to mask or mimic the RV signature of Earth-like planets.


Dr. David Brown is a postdoctoral research fellow at Queen’s University Belfast, but is currently based at the
University of Warwick as a visiting fellow. He has experience with both obtaining and analysing Rossiter-McLaughlin
effect data, and is currently studying circumbinary planets. He is also interested in the effects of tidal interactions
on hot Jupiter planetary systems.


The University of Edinburgh (UEDIN) is over 400 years old and is one of the largest in the UK. It has a worldwide reputation for both research and teaching, and was graded within the top few British Universities in the last National Research Assessment Exercise.

The School of Physics & Astronomy is in the College of Science & Engineering and comprises the Institute for Astronomy (IfA).
The research programmes at the IfA are varied but particular strengths are survey astronomy, cosmology, active galaxies, stellar populations, low-mass stars, and the formation of stars and planets. It also hosts the Wide Field Astronomy Unit which is a leading astronomical data centre, publishing sky survey datasets and providing infrastructure to support their scientific exploitation.

Dr. Ken Rice leads the exoplanet effort at the Insitute for Astronomy and is one of the three UK Co-Investigators on the HARPS-N project. His experience is primarily in computational and theoretical astrophysics. In particular, he uses numerical simulations to model the earliest stages of star formation so as to understand how the evolution of discs around young stars influence subsequent star and planet formation.



The Center for Astrophysics (CfA) combines the resources and research facilities of the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) under a single director to pursue studies of those basic physical processes that determine the nature and evolution of the universe. The SAO component of the CfA is identified as the US participant. CfA scientists been involved in exoplanet research for more than two decades, starting with the discovery of the first exoplanet candidate found using radial velocities (HD 114762b, Latham et al. 1989), followed by other notable discoveries such as the first system of exoplanets (upsilon Andromedae, Butler et al. 1999), the first transiting exoplanet (HD 209458, Charbonneau et al. 2000), the first detection of an exoplanet atmosphere (Charbonneau et al. 2002), and the identification and confirmation of the first transiting planet found by a wide-angle ground-based photometric survey (TrES-1, Alonso et al 2004).

Dr. David Latham is a Senior Astronomer at SAO, with three decades of experience measuring precise radial velocities of stars. He is one of the pioneers in the discovery and characterization of exoplanets. He is a Co-I on the Kepler Mission and Chief Mission Scientist for TESS.

Prof. David Charbonneau is a Professor of Astronomy at Harvard, with major contributions to studies of transiting exoplanets, both from space (Kepler, HST, Epoxi, and Spitzer) and the ground (TrES and MEarth).

Prof. Dimitar Sasselov is a Professor of Astronomy at Harvard, with expertise in theoretical models for exoplanets and space observations (as a Co-I on the MOST and Kepler missions). He is Director of the Harvard University Origins of Life Initiative.

Andrew Szentgyorgyi is an astrophysicist at SAO, with special expertise in the development of high-performance astronomical spectrographs (e.g. Hectochelle, TRES, HARPS-N). He is leading the design study of the G-Clef spectrograph for the GMT, capable of characterizing large Earths.

David Phillips is a Physicist at SAO, with expertise in the development of laser combs for calibration of astronomical spectrographs. He is leading the effort at CfA to develop an astro-comb for HARPS-N.



The Physics Department at the University of Warwick (Warwick) will celebrate in 2015 its 50th birthday.
The Astronomy and Astrophysics group at Warwick is one of the newest additions to the Department of Physics, beginning life in September 2003 with the appointment of Prof Tom Marsh. Main scientific interests are stars and planets, how they live and how they die, and the exotic physical processes that they allow us to explore.

Prof Don Pollacco will lead the exoplanet effort at Warwick. He was PI of the original grant that established the WASP Project and was one of its founding members. The WASP Project has continued this trend and with our international partners has become the leading ground based large exoplanet detection facility.