Press conference to launch the E152 telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile

On Friday, November 25, 2022, an online press conference was held for the official commissioning of the E152 telescope, which was reconstructed at the La Silla Observatory in Chile as part of the PLATOSpec project. Due to the location of the telescope, the press conference was broadcast online from Ondřejov and from Chile.

The E152 telescope located at the European Southern Observatory in Chile’s Atacama desert has been out of service since 2002. The Czech company ProjectSoft has modernized the telescope and it is now possible to control it remotely. The implementation was significantly financially supported by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic within the framework of the expensive instruments program.

The following spoke at the press conference: Dr. Michal Bursa, the director of the Institute of Astronomy of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; Petr Kabáth, head of the PLATOSpec project Dr.; Ing. Pavel Běchný, Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Chile; Professor Petr Heinzel; Zdeněk Bardon, ProjectSoft company representative; Professor Svatopluk Civiš and Ivo Saviane, Drirector of the La Silla Observatory.

The mission of the PLATOSpec project is to contribute to the research of exoplanets (planets near other stars). The E152 telescope, equipped with the PLATOSpec spectrograph, will perform follow-up ground-based observations of interesting objects discovered by the TESS (NASA, operational) and PLATO (ESA, to be launched in 2026) satellites, which are designed to discover exoplanets. PLATOSpec will enable astronomers to study the basic characteristics of exoplanets, such as mass, size and distance from the parent star, as well as the composition of their atmospheres and the conditions prevailing there, using detailed spectroscopic analysis.

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