Institute of Planetary Research



The French COROT-satellite uses highly accurate photometry in the optical range to achieve two scientific goals: search for extrasolar planets and measure the pulsation of stars (asteroseismology) to study their interior. The COROT-satellite will be the first mission designed to search for extrasolar planets. COROT stands for 'COnvection, ROtation and planetary Transits'. The mission is led by CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) with large European (A, B, D, E, ESA) and Brasilien participation. PI of the science instrument is Dr. A. Baglin, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, France.

Launch is foreseen for October 2006.

The instrument consists of an afocal telescope and a CCD camera. The prime telescope mirror size is 27 cm and provides a field-of-view of 2.8x2.8 degree. The focal plane of the camera is split into two CCD's (each 2048x2048 pixels) for planet search and two for asteroseismology. In the asteroseismology channel, defocused stellar images allow highly accurate photometry of a few bright stars (6-9 mag). For planet searching, images are focussed, but a prism in the beam produces a low-dispersion spectrum of each star. The resulting colour information aids in separating planetary transits from stellar variability. About 30000-60000 stars will be monitored during the mission.

As a result of its high photometric accuracy and duty-cycle, COROT will discover Neptune- and Uranus-like planets. Furthermore, COROT will be able to detect large terrestrial planets (down to about 2 Earth radii) on close-in stellar orbits. These will probably be the first terrestrial planets detected outside our solar system. In addition, the mission will discover many Jupiter-sized planets and significantly increase our statistics on this type of planet.

Following first contacts with the COROT project during 2001, a collaboration between the DLR and CNES on the space mission was established. A project 'COROT contribution' has been created at DLR (programme project leader: Dr. M. Gaida; DLR-Berlin project leader: Dr. H. Rauer). Co-Investigators at other German institutes are Prof. A. Hatzes (Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg), Dr. M. Pätzold (Univ. of Cologne) and Dr. G. Wuchterl (Astrophysikalisches Institut und Universitäts-Sternwarte, Jena).

DLR-Berlin will make scientific and technical contributions to the COROT mission. Scientific contributions include the set-up of a ground-based transit search program ('Berlin Exoplanet Search Telescope'), calculations of the dynamical development of planetary systems and potential follow-up observations. The technical contribution includes the development of the on-board software of the instrument, based on the user requirements provided by the COROT project team. Work on all contributions started in 2001. 

For additional information contact Dr. H.  Rauer or see the COROT homepage.

Department of Extrasolar Planets and Atmospheres

Autor: Dr. Heike Rauer, WWW-Bearbeiter: Dr. Anders Erikson
Letzte Änderung: Thursday, 06-Apr-2006 10:39:22 CEST
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