PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) is a European Space Agency-proposed space observatory that will use a group of photometers to discover and characterize extrasolar planets of all sizes and kinds around cool dwarf (like our Sun) and subgiant stars. The satellite is planned to be launched in 2017 or 2018 on a Soyuz-Fregat rocket, to the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrangian point.
It will differ from COROT and Kepler in that it will study relatively bright stars (between magnitudes 8 and 11) making it easier to confirm discoveries using follow-up radial velocity measurements. It will have a much larger field of view than the Kepler mission (which has 100 square degrees) allowing it to study a larger sample of stars. The different versions of the project plan to observe stars in a 1250-3600 deg2 area of the sky, thus tracking light curves of up to 260,000 cool dwarfs and subgiants (Kepler had 25,000 stars of these types).
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