COROT – in search of new planets

COROTA French satellite designed to hunt out for new rocky planets outside our solar system has started work after a series of successful tests, according to the European Space Agency. COROT, the satellite carries a telescope capable of detecting small, rocky planets by measuring the light emitted by a star and detecting the drop in brightness caused when a planet passes in front of it.

The performance of the instruments and of the spacecraft is reported to exceed the expectations of the scientists who have deduced that there are planets orbiting stars other than the sun, by measuring their ‘wobble’ or gravitational pull, but have never before been able to see them. The space agency will start scouring for planets after the work of fine tune equipment is completed.

4 thoughts on “COROT – in search of new planets”

  1. The Corot stands for “Convection Rotation and planetary Transits”, a spacecraft has launched today from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to search for another “Earth” in the solar system.The French-led Corot space mission is to find Earth-like planets around other stars. The perfect time to spark interest in the second biggest question in modern cosmology: are we alone? (The biggest question being why we are here.)

    well the history tells us that the COROT was first proposed in December 1996 by the French National Space Agency (CNES) and, over the next three years, the project was researched to see if it was feasible. In September 1999, a call for potential European partners was made and in March 2000, CNES gave the green light to carry out COROT.

    COROT is the first mission capable of detecting rocky planets, several times larger than Earth, around nearby stars (planets outside our Solar System are referred to as ‘exoplanets’). It consists of a 30-centimetre space telescope. It is launched in October 2006 (if i remember correctly.)

    The payload of the COROT satellite consists of a telescope, two cameras – one for each of the two mission objectives (exoplanet search and asteroseismology), and the on-board computer processors. The latter were manufactured in ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) by the Research and Scientific Support Department as one contribution of ESA to the COROT mission.

    The telescope is made out of two parabolic mirrors, having a 1.1-metre focal length. The field of view is a square of 2.8 x 2.8°, half for the seismology mission, the other half for the exoplanet mission. A prism, used by the telescope for certain aspects of the mission, will separate colours, enabling scientists to study stellar activity during a planetary transit.

    There is an external ‘baffle’ on the telescope (designed at ESTEC). This is a device for shielding a lens from ‘light pollution’ from sources other than those objects at which the telescope is looking.

    COROT will be placed on a circular, polar orbit that will allow for continuous observations of two large and opposite regions in the sky for more than 150 days each. Within each region there are many selected fields that will be monitored in turn. The reason for the oppositely sited regions is that, because of the Earth’s movement around the Sun, the sun’s rays start to interfere with the observations after 150 days. COROT then rotates by 180 degrees and start observing the other region.

    Well i wish COROT will acheive its objectives (mainly 2 objectives) so we can know more about the physics of stars and about the most important energy source in our universe which creates the environment necessary for life on the surface of planets.

  2. This is the best part of the western research program. They always tend to work on new and unique projects. I wonder when such projects are initiated in Pakistan. Even if such projects are thought about, there wont be enough sponsors to finance such huge costs.

    But then again, where there is a will there’s a way.


Leave a Reply