Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

COROT surprises a year after launch

21.12.2007
The space-borne telescope, COROT (Convection, Rotation and planetary Transits), has just completed its first year in orbit. The observatory has brought in surprises after over 300 days of scientific observations.

Pioneering precision measurement over long periods of time COROT is observing a large number of stars, up to 12 000, simultaneously, at a very high precision - unprecedented in ground-based astronomy. The key to the high-precision is that the observations can be carried out over very long periods of time – up to 150 days. This is being done for the first time ever.

The satellite measures variations in the light output of these stars down to one part in a million. This level of precision allows scientists to study the many ways in which stars vary. The pulsations are caused either due to unknown physical processes in the stellar interior, or by objects such as planets passing in front of the stellar surface.

A treasure trove of information for stellar seismology

To date, 30 stars have been observed as part of the study of stellar seismology, the study of the miniscule changes in light output from a star caused by acoustic waves travelling through the star. The pattern of the changes tells us a lot about what is happening deep inside the star. The stars observed by COROT range from objects similar to our own Sun to older or more massive stars. The observation period varies between 20 and 150 days of essentially uninterrupted study.

After a preliminary analysis, the measurements have revealed very exciting results

Research into solar-type oscillations is one of the mission’s key objectives. Such oscillations have already been found in two stars that are very similar to our sun - first in HD49933 and then in HD181420. The variations are very weak in amplitude and given their short coherence time (the duration for which a particular wave persists on the stellar surface), they are very hard to detect and measure.

COROT’s discovers its second exoplanet

As a planet passes in front of a star, there is a dip in the light output from the star, which is detected by COROT. Since many other processes can mimic the signature observed, to confirm the presence of a planet, a large confirmation programme with supplementary ground-based observations is necessary to prove the existence of a planet.

Although COROT observes thousands of light curves, the pace of discovery is governed by ground-based observations.

In the third sequence of COROT observations, a likely time for the transit of COROT-exo-2b in front of its star was worked out and an analysis of the light curve was carried out in real-time to confirm the find. Observations were carried out simultaneously at the observatory of Haute Provence in France, and at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, confirming the existence of the planet and its mass was measured.

COROT-exo-2b orbits a star similar to our Sun, somewhat more massive and cooler, but more active. It is located about 800 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Serpens. COROT-exo-2b is a giant planet, 1.4 times larger and 3.5 times more massive than Jupiter. Its average density of 1.5 grams per cubic centimetre is also somewhat higher than Jupiter’s. This massive planet orbits its star in a little less than two days from a distance of about six times the stellar radius.

"Christmas is early this year,” for ESA's COROT Project Scientist, Malcolm Fridlund. “The release of the first data set has already had the science team working hard. The quality of the data is fantastic and the results will change both, how we see exoplanets and how we understand stars."

Malcolm Fridlund | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/COROT/SEMF0C2MDAF_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses
27.07.2017 | Universität Innsbruck

nachricht CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property
26.07.2017 | City College of New York

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>