- The Kepler instrument is a specially designed 0.95-meter diameter telescope photometer. It has a very large field of view for an astronomical telescope (105 square degrees) in order to observe the necessary large number of stars. It stares at the same star field for the entire mission and continuously and simultaneously monitors the brightnesses of more than 150,000 stars for the life of the mission of up to 7 or more years.
- CoRot (Convection, Rotation and Planetary Transits) uses its telescope to closely monitor the changes in a star’s brightness that comes from a planet crossing in front of it. While it is looking at a star, CoRoT is also be able to detect starquakes, waves generated deep inside a star, that send ripples across a star’s surface, altering its brightness. The exact nature of the ripples, also studied by means of high-resolution ground-based spectroscopy, allows astronomers to calculate the star’s precise mass, age and chemical composition.
- SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) has provided an unprecedented breadth and depth of information about the Sun, from its interior, through the hot and dynamic atmosphere, to the solar wind and its interaction with the interstellar medium.
- SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) studies how solar activity is created and how Space Weather comes from that activity. Measurements of the interior of the Sun, the Sun’s magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona, and the irradiance that creates the ionospheres of the planets are the primary data products of SDO.
- TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) will carry out the first space-borne all-sky transit survey, by using an array of wide-field cameras. The goal is to discover transiting exoplanets, ranging from Earth-sized planets to gas giants, in orbit around the brightest stars in the sun’s neighbourhood. To be launched by NASA in 2017.
- Solar Orbiter, to be launched in 2017, will fly out of the ecliptic plane to provide unprecedented views of the high-latitude regions of Sun.
- BRITE (BRIght Target Explorer) Constellation is a network of five nanosatellites to investigate stellar structure and evolution of the brightest stars in the sky and their interaction with the local environment. Micropulsation, wind phenomena, and other forms of stellar variability are recorded via high precision photometry in two colours (red and blue).
Ground based programmes:
- GONG – The Global Oscillation Network Group is a community-based program to conduct a detailed study of solar internal structure and dynamics using helioseismology.
- BiSON (Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network) consists of a network of six remote solar observatories monitoring low-degree solar oscillation modes.
- SONG (Stellar Observations Network Group) has the goal to construct a global network of 1-m class robotic telescopes for asteroseismology and exoplanet research. The first telescope becomes operational on Tenerife in the Spring 2013 and a second telescope is under construction in China.
- The network WET (Whole Earth Telescope) is run as a single astronomical instrument withmany operators from around the globe in data acquisition, reduction, analysis, and theoretical interpretation.
For a complete list of links to dedicated websites of these instruments, please follow this link.