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Main science goals of the SLS & SPICE

The SLS concentrates on two main science goals. The first one is to search for & characterize exo-Earths orbiting in the habitable zones (HZs) of low-mass & very-low mass stars using high-precision radial velocity (RV) measurements (see left figure below). This search will expand the exploratory studies carried out with visible instruments (e.g., HARPS/ESO) and will focus in particular on planetary systems of nearby M dwarfs such as the 7-planet system discovered around Trappist-1, with special interest for planets located in the HZs of their host stars. SPIRou will work in close collaboration with space- & ground-based photometric transit surveys like K2/NASA, TESS/NASA, CHEOPS/ESA, ExTrA and later-on PLATO/ESA to identify the true planets among the candidates they will discover.

The second main goal is to explore the impact of magnetic fields on star & planet formation, by detecting fields of various types of young stellar objects (e.g. class-I, class-II and class-III pre-main-sequence / PMS stars, protostellar accretion discs) and by characterizing their large-scale topologies. SPIRou will also investigate the potential presence of giant planets around protostars and in the inner regions of accretion discs. In particular, this study will amplify the pioneering exploration surveys carried out at optical wavelengths within the MaPP (Magnetic Protostars and Planets) and MaTYSSE (Magnetic Topologies of Young Stars and the Survival of close-in massive Exoplanets) CFHT Large Programs (LPs). It will also ideally complement results obtained with ALMA/ESO on planet-forming accretion discs (see right figure below) and dense prestellar cores.

Artist view of a Earth-size planet orbiting a star other than the Sun (©NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech).  SPIRou should discover several tens of such planets. ALMA image of the planet-forming accretion disc around the young Sun HL Tau (©ALMA/ESO).  Observations with SPIRou can ideally complement such studies.

More about the science goals in the section dedicated to the SLS science programme (restricted access). Scientists interested in joining the SLS science consortium should contact the SLS executive board at outlining their motivation to do so and the expertise they wish to share.

home/science.txt · Last modified: 2022/07/19 14:08 by jdonati