The APACHE survey hardware and software design: Tools for an automatic search of small-size transiting exoplanets
1 Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley, Loc. Lignan 39, 11020 Nus (Aosta), Italy
2 Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
3 Dept. of Physics, University of Trieste, via Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
4 INAF – Astrophysical Observatory of Torino, via Osservatorio 20, 10025 Pino Torinese, Italy
5 Dept. of Physics, University of Perugia, via A. Pascoli, 06123 Perugia, Italy
a e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Small-size ground-based telescopes can effectively be used to look for transiting rocky planets around nearby low-mass M stars using the photometric transit method, as recently demonstrated for example by the MEarth project. Since 2008 at the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of Aosta Valley (OAVdA), we have been preparing for the long-term photometric survey APACHE, aimed at finding transiting small-size planets around thousands of nearby early and mid-M dwarfs. APACHE (A PAthway toward the Characterization of Habitable Earths) is designed to use an array of five dedicated and identical 40-cm Ritchey-Chretien telescopes and its observations started at the beginning of summer 2012. The main characteristics of the survey final set up and the preliminary results from the first weeks of observations will be discussed.
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