Today a large number of exoplanets ranging from Jupiters to super-Earths has been detected. Researchers at OAPa are involved in several studies concerning the field of exoplanets. Their interests include detections and characterizations of planetary systems, planetary atmospheres and studies of star-planet interactions. In particular, the group is focusing its activity on the detection and characterizations of small planets around late type stars, taking advantage of the opportunity offered by HARPS-N@TNG. In this context the group participates actively to the collaboration GAPS (The Global Architecture of Planetary System), aiming at investigating the properties of planetary systems as a function of the host (mass and metallicity) and environment characteristics. The group collaborates also with the GTO activities of HARPS-N. Furthermore, since dM stars are very active, the activity effects on radial velocity curves are studied in detail.

A significant effort is devoted to the study of planetary atmospheres, including the development of models of jovian and terrestrial atmospheres that take into account several physical processes. An important aspect is the identification of diagnostics accessible to forthcoming and future instruments. The researchers at OAPa are actively involved also in planning and developing of future missions devoted to the study of atmospheres.

Finally, taking advantage of the experience gained on stellar activity, the group is working on several aspects of the interaction between the star and the planetary system, from its formation (star – disk interaction) to the more mature stages. In this context both effects on the star, due to the magnetic and tidal interaction from close and massive planets, and on the heating of planetary atmospheres are studied.


Main projects

  • HARPS-N – The High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher/North,
    • Participation @ GTO
    • GAPS (Global Architecture of Planetary Systems)
  • PLATO – Planetary Transits and Oscillation satellite
  • EChO – Exoplanets Characterization Observatory
  • ARIEL – Atmospheric Remote sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large Survey
  • WOW – A Way to Other Worlds, a special program funded by Italian Education and Research Ministery (MIUR)

Involved people:

  • Laura Affer – affer at astropa.inaf.it
  • Cesare Cecchi-Pestellini– cecchi-pestellini at astropa.inaf.it
  • Ester Gonzalez Alvarez – egonzalez at astropa.inaf.it
  • Daniele Locci – dlocci at astropa.inaf.it
  • Jesus Maldonado Prado – jmaldonado at astropa.inaf.it
  • Antonio Maggio – maggio at astropa.inaf.it
  • Giuseppina Micela – giusi at astropa.inaf.it
  • Giovanni Peres peres at astropa.unipa.it
  • Salvatore Sciortino – sciorti at astropa.inaf.it
  • Luciana Ziino – lziino at astropa.inaf.it

Other research activities