As its name indicates, the group 'Origins in Cosmology and Astrophysics' is especially active in the study of origins, from those of the Universe to those of planetary systems, and ours in particular.
To this aim, we analyze the properties of diverse celestial bodies and phenomena:
- comets, genuine fossils of the early solar system;
- transiting exoplanets, which allow to characterize external planetary systems and compare them to ours;
- gravitational lenses, thanks to which we can probe dark matter and the Universe at very large scales
- and finally the cosmological models themselves, as tools for the study of the evolution of the Universe.
In addition to observing time obtained on the large international telescopes, our research group has initiated the TRAPPIST program, based on a fully robotic 60 cm telescope installed at the La Silla observatory in Chile, and dedicated to the study of exoplanets as well as small bodies of our solar system. Moreover, the SPECULOOS project is being developed. Its aim is to search for Earth-like exoplanets transiting very low m ass stars in the solar neighborhood and, if possible, planets which could harbor life. The funds for the construction of two telescopes have been granted by the European Research Council.