After just 555 days in orbit, the mission has now observed more than 50 000 stars and is adding significantly to our knowledge of the fundamental workings of stars.
The latest discovery, COROT-exo-4b is an exoplanet of about the same size as Jupiter. It takes 9.2 days to orbit its star, the longest period for any transiting exoplanet ever found.
The team has found that the star, which is slightly larger than our Sun, is rotating at the same pace as the planet's period of revolution. This is quite a surprise for the team, as the planet is thought to be too low in mass and too distant from its star, for the star to have any major influence on its rotation.
Launched in December 2006, COROT is the first space-based mission designed to search for exoplanets. Located outside Earth's atmosphere, the satellite is designed to detect rocky exoplanets almost as small as Earth. The satellite uses transits, the tiny dips in the light output from a star when a planet passes in front of it, to detect and study planets. This is followed up by extensive ground-based observations.
Monitoring COROT-exo-4b continuously over several months, the team tracked variations in its brightness between transits. They derived its period of rotation by monitoring dark spots on its surface that rotated in and out of view.
It is not known whether COROT-exo-4b and its star have always been rotating in sync since their formation about 1000 million years ago, or if the star’s rotation synchronized later. Studying such systems with COROT will help scientists gain valuable insight into star-planet interactions.
This is the first transiting exoplanet found with such a peculiar combination of mass and period of rotation. There is surely something special about how it formed and evolved.
Malcolm Fridlund | alfa
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18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin
Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino
16.07.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
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Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
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Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
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