Cheops is ESA’s CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite. It’s mission is to study bright, nearby stars that are already known to host exoplanets.
By studying large numbers of different exoplanets, scientists are able to understand how exoplanetary systems form and evolve. This is an important step in the path towards understanding our own Solar System and our place in the Universe.
Through the precise measurement of the light curves of nearby stars known to host a transiting exoplanet, Cheops is able to determine the sizes of these exoplanets. By combining this information with other measurements, scientists will be able to determine the density of the exoplanets. For some specific exoplanets we can even determine whether they have clouds, and what their atmospheres may be composed of!