The project SPECULOOS -Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars – searches for potentially habitable exoplanets around the smallest and coolest stars of the solar neighborhood.
ince 1995, hundreds of planets have been detected outside our solar system (exoplanets), revealing that most of the stars of our Galaxy host their own planetary system. In parallel to these detections, many projects have succeeded in characterizing some giant exoplanets in detail, notably by studying their atmospheric properties. Exporting the techniques developed for these pioneering studies to terrestrial exoplanets is the next step to study other Earths and to find extrasolar life.
To open this path, the SPECULOOS (Search for Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars) project aims to detect terrestrial planets eclipsing some of the smallest and coolest stars of the solar neighborhood. This strategy is motivated by the unique possibility to study these planets in detail with future giant observatories like the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) or the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The exoplanets discovered by SPECULOOS should thus provide mankind with an opportunity to study the atmosphere of extrasolar worlds similar in size to our Earth, notably to search for traces of biological activity.
SPECULOOS is a project led by the University of Liège (project leader: Michaël Gillon) and carried out in partnership with the University of Cambridge, the University of Birmingham, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Bern, the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics, and the European Southern Observatory. It is based on a network of robotic telescopes whose main cores are the observatories SPECULOOS South in Chile (4 telescopes) and SPECULOOS North in Tenerife (1 telescope), complemented by the SAINT-EX (1 telescope in Mexico) and TRAPPIST (2 telescopes, 1 in Chile and 1 in Morocco).
You will find on this site some information about SPECULOOS. Please take the time to explore it and check regularly for updates.