ASTEP (Antarctic Search for Transiting Exo Planets) is a research program funded mainly by French ANR grants and by the French Polar Institute (IPEV), dedicated to the photometric study of exoplanetary transits from Antarctica.
The preliminary “pathfinder” instrument ASTEP–South is described in another communication (Crouzet et al., these proceedings), and we focus in this presentation on the main instrument of the ASTEP program: “ASTEP–400”, a 40 cm robotized and thermally-controlled photometric telescope operated from the French-Italian Concordia station (Dome C, Antarctica).
ASTEP–400 has been installed at Concordia during the 2009-2010 summer campaign. Since, the telescope has been operated in nominal conditions during 2010 and 2011 winters, and the 2012 winterover is presently in progress. Data from the first two winter campaigns are available and processed. We give a description of the ASTEP–400 telescope from the mechanical, optical and thermal point of view. Control and software issues are also addressed. We end with a discussion of some astronomical results obtained with ASTEP–400.