PLATO Ground-based Observations Programme


In order to fulfil the PLATO scientific objectives, the Ground-based Observation Programme (GOP) will play an important role, as it is necessary for the confirmation and characterisation of planets. For this ESA will issue an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for the community to participate in the ground-based observations of the planet candidates in the “prime sample”. The issue of the AO is planned for three years (TBC) before the PLATO launch, which is scheduled in December 2026. The selected GOP Team will be responsible of the ground-based observation campaign, which will be organised following the requirements from the PLATO Mission Consortium (PMC) for the confirmation and the characterisation of the planetary candidates.

The "prime sample” will be defined by the PMC, and will consist of PLATO Input Catalogue (PIC) targets to be observed with high PLATO accuracy. The “prime sample” with the targets in the first sky field will be defined nine months before launch and updated six months before every satellite sky field pointing.

ESA will take the lead in establishing agreements and managing relations with main ground-based facilities.

Ground-based follow-up observations of planet candidates orbiting targets not included in the "prime sample" may be carried out by the community at large as part of the PLATO legacy. ESA will invite the community to provide their data and results, to make them accessible also through the PLATO Science Archive.