August 25, 2014

CoRoT News

CoRoT Events

  • 18/06/2014 - CoRoT presentations

Conférence sur les résultats de la mission CoRoTWith the last telecommand sent to CoRoT, an afternoon of technical and scientific presentations took place at CNES in order to make an assessment of this pioneer mission.

Presentations (in French):

  • L'histoire de CoRoT en 5 tableaux
  • La mission en quelques chiffres
  • Éléments de mémoire
  • Structure Galactique et sismologie
  • Le programme exoplanètes de CoRoT :
    comment ça marche ?
  • Les planètes de CoRoT...
    ...du télescope à la loupe
  • Après CoRoT

Movies of the presentations
Short CoRoT presentation by Lionel Suchet CoRoT history in 5 tables by Annie Baglin The mission in a few figures by Christophe Donny
Memorable elements by Thien Lam Trong The soaring of stellar sismology by Eric Michel Galactic
 how it works by Magalie Deleuil CoRoT planets... from the telescope to the magnifying glass by Marc Ollivier After CoRoT by Olivier La Marle
Movies in MOV format

  • 17/06/2014 - Last telecommand sent to CoRoT satellite

End of CoRoT Poster 
On June 17, 2014 at 10h27, CoRoT received the last telecommand of its carreer. After over 7 year of in-orbit activity, the satellite arrived at the end of its mission. The operations have been directed by CNES Toulouse Space Center technical teams and thus ended the switch off operations of the satellite which begun in December 2013.

Annie Baglin sendind the last telecommand to CoRot on June 17, 2014
Annie Baglin sendind the last telecommand to CoRot on June 17, 2014

Launched on December 27, 2006, CoRoT passed 2729 days in orbit, detecting and measuring with a very high precision (one hundred times better than previously) the variations of luminosity of hundreds of thousands of stars, continuously and during very long periods up to 6 months.

Thanks to CoRoT and to scientific teams as well as CNES for this pioneer mission in space astronomy.

  • 03/2014 - New animations presenting CoRoT mission

At the occasion of CoRoT retrospective at Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace at Bourget at the end 2013, a series of short animations presenting the mission to general public were realized. Watch to rediscover the mission:

CoRoT an astronomy space mission
CoRoT an astronomy space mission
(~46 Mb, MP4 format, in French)

CoRoT reveals the heart of stars
CoRoT reveals the heart of stars
(~44 Mb, MP4 format, in French)

CoRoT discovers new worlds
CoRoT discovers new worlds
(~45 Mb, MP4 format, in French)

  • 01/2014 - CoRoT: collision evading and decommissioning

CoRoT decommissioning operations officially begin this first week of January 2014 after 4 months dedicated to the realization of technological experimentations.

An unexpected general rehearsal was performed on December 23rd when the very first orbit lowering maneuver nominally scheduled for January was advanced to avoid a piece of a launcher that threatened CoRoT. This first maneuver was successfully executed.

It should be noted that this real collision risk, and thus the evading maneuver that followed, was the first in 6 years of mission! A beautiful statistics for CoRoT!

Taking into account the Proteus platform design and the remaining quantity of ergol, the CoRoT orbit lowering operations will continue for 2 months. Once the final elliptical orbit reached, the CoRoT satellite will be kept in survival mode in order to realize the very last technological experimentations.

The final switch off of the satellite is scheduled at the end of spring 2014.

  • 12/2013 - The universal nature of stellar granulation unveiled

The CoRoT satellite has provided the first clear photometric signature of the granulation in stars other than the Sun. These observations have also revealed the existence of an universal scaling relation between the characteristic time-scale of stellar granulation and surface parameters of the stars.
Observations made with the Kepler satellite (NASA) on a larger number of stars recently confirmed the CoRoT observations. These observations have motivated theoretical work led by researchers at the Paris Observatory (Observatoire de Paris / CNRS / Université Paris Diderot / UPMC).
This work has resulted in a theoretical model of stellar granulation which reproduces satisfactorily the observed scaling relation. It allows us to better understand the properties of stellar granulation and its relationship with the properties of solar-like oscillations.
This study was recently published in two articles in Astronomy & Astrophysics : "Stellar granulation as seen in disk-integrated intensity" I. Simplified theoretical modeling - II. Theoretical scaling relations compared with observations.

Fourier spectrum of the CoRoT target HD 49385. The red curve corresponds to the signature of the granulation. The blue vertical line locates the characteristic frequency (nu<sub>max</sub>) of the solar-type oscillations detected in this star
Fourier spectrum of the CoRoT target HD 49385. The red curve corresponds to the signature of the granulation. The blue vertical line locates the characteristic frequency (numax) of the solar-type oscillations detected in this star

Read the complete news on Paris Observatory's website

  • 08/2013 - Pulsating star sheds light on exoplanet

A team of researchers has improved the knowledge on an exoplanet by studying the internal properties of its host star through asteroseismology.
The research, which appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), was conducted by a multi-national team of scientists. The researchers examined HD 52265-a star approximately 92 light years away and nearly 20 percent more massive than our Sun. More than a decade ago, scientists identified an exopanet-a planet outside our Solar System-in the star's orbit. HD 52265, then, served as an ideal model for both measuring stars' properties and how such properties can shed light on planetary systems.

Artistic rendering of HD 52265 and its orbiting Jupiter-like planet. Image courtesy of MPI for Solar System Research/Mark A. Garlick (
Artistic rendering of HD 52265 and its orbiting Jupiter-like planet. Image courtesy of MPI for Solar System Research/Mark A. Garlick (

Read the complete news on New York University's website

  • 06/2013 - Mission accomplished for CoRoT satellite

After a mission twice longer than scheduled, CNES CoRoT satellite, able to listen to the music of the stars and to hunt exoplanets, will be retired.

CoRoT successes led CNES and its partners to extend its mission a first time in 2009, then a second time in 2012. But after 6 years of intense bombing by high energy particles which travel through space, CoRoT instrument ceased to transmit data on November 2, 2012, probably a casualty of one of them. After several months of investigations and testing on ground as well as onboard, CNES and CNRS technical teams homed in on the probable cause of the event, without being able to turn back on the equipment from the ground. A set of operations will now take place to lower CoRot's orbit, to realize technological experimentations then to passivate the satellite. CoRoT travel will then end when it will burn in the Earth's atmosphere.

Read the complete news on CNES' website (in French).
Read also the CNES' Press Release

  • 01/2013 - Mission still interrupted

Following the anomaly that occured on the photometric chain n°2 of the instrument, the scientific mission of CoRoT has been interupted since November 2nd, 2012. The operations achieved in december 2012 to reconfigure the satellite bus did not succeed in restarting the instrument. The group of experts in charge of the investigation is currently analyzing new assumptions to explain the anomaly. These will be tested on-ground using a bench representative of the instrument which is located at the CoRoT Mission Centre in Toulouse. New attempts on-board the satellite could follow afterwards.

  • 11/2012 - Interruption of the mission

The CoRoT instrument has stopped producing scientific data since the 2nd of November. The first indications show that the photometric chain n°2 does not communicate with the spacecraft computer any longer (the chain n°2 has been the only one in use since a failure occured within the chain n°1 in March 2009). Several attempts to restart the instrument have been unsuccessful. Investigations to understand the reason of the anomaly are going on and in parallel, the operationnal team in Toulouse is preparing a reconfiguration of the spacecraft with new attempts to revive the instrument. The operations are planned mid of December.

  • 10/2012 - Proposal for a 3 years extension for CoRoT mission
  • 02/2012 - Be stars have a larger core than predicted

Once again, asteroseismology - this art of sounding stellar interiors by studying their global oscillations - opens a completely new window on the physical processes that transport energy from the nuclear core of these stars to their luminous atmosphere.
Two continuous observations, during 27 and 157 days by the CoRoT CNES space mission, of the light oscillations of two late Be stars has revealed the size of their convective core, which appears larger than the one predicted by static models of such stars, also known as standard models. Those extremely rapidly rotating stars (their angular velocity is 20 times larger than the solar one, i.e. one rotation in 1.5 day, and their surfacic equatorial velocity is 140 times the solar one) are about 4 times more massive and 7 times larger than the Sun. This result constitutes an important step for the understanding of the structure and evolution of massive stars, which are at the origin of the heavy elements in the Universe, and particularly for the physics of Be stars. It can be explained by the internal dynamics related to the convection in the stellar core and to flows generated by the rapid rotation in their external envelope. This dynamics has been simultaneously understood and constrained thanks ro a combination of CoRoT observations with a study of the magnetism of these stars with the 2-meter Bernard Lyot Telescope at the Pic du Midi (France) and the modelling of their oscillations and of their deep hydrodynamics.

Read the complete article on the Paris Observatory web site.

  • 01/2012 - 5th anniversary for CoRoT

Poster 5 years of exploitation for CoRoTTo celebrate the 5th anniversary of CoRoT and the mission extension request, the project team organises with the scientific community a conference,

    on Thursday February 2, 2012
    in room Léonard de Vinci at Toulouse Space Center
    from 13h45 to 16h00.

    The event is organised as an animated "plateau", alternating questions and answers in the room with diffusion of short interviews.

    Several themes at the heart and the frontiers of CoRoT science mission will be broached :
    the exoplanets, the complementary observations from the ground, the stellar activity, to the borders of the Galaxy, ...

    Contact points to access the site:

      Marie-Claire Raymondis
      Olivier Vandermarcq
      • 11/2011 - A Christmas tree for CoRoT

      An International Campaign will combine 4 space observatories: CoRoT, Spitzer, Chandra and MOST and several ground based telescopes, in particular the ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile from the beginning of Decembre to mid-January.

      CoRoT SatelliteSpitzer SatelliteChandra SatelliteMOST MicroSatelliteVery Large Telescope in Chile

      This campaign will target a young star cluster (10 million years), not very far from us only at 1800 light years, with the barbarian name of NGC 2264 also nicely called the Christmas tree. These instruments will observe nearly continuously during this period, about four thousands stars with very different masses, at every stage of their formation and youth, in different wavelengths going from infrared to X-rays.

      Image of NGC 2264 cluster taken by VLT - © ESO
      Image of NGC 2264 cluster taken by VLT - © ESO

      CoRoT (CNES + European countries + Brazil) will observe thousands of stars including the faintest ones, while MOST (Canada, Austria) will focus on a few dozen very bright objects, unobservable by CoRoT.
      Spitzer (NASA) will detect the infrared radiation emitted by the envelopes and the internal part of the accretion discs which surround the stars during their contraction.
      Chandra (NASA) will observe the most external regions of these discs, X-ray sources and more particularly very short and explosive phenomena.
      Spectroscopy using ground based telescopes will add information on chemical composition, velocities of flows and their variability during this campaign.

      The main studies will concern the interaction between the star already formed and the surrounding matter, the rotation and the magnetic activity of the cluster members as well as their distribution, the detection of their inner structure by using the seismology techniques, the search for planetary and stellar eclipses in young stars. It will enable to determine the proportion of these multiple objects, binary stars and planetary systems in this specific region.

      For the first time it has been possible to organise such a coordinated campaign, involving many large facilities, with very different instruments, which will enable to link the observed phenomena in the different regions of these objects, and the interaction with their environment.

      CoRoT already observed this cluster in 2007 and the results show the richness of the data, and are the subject for 6 publications as well as numerous presentations in international symposia.

      • 10/2011 - CoRoT and asteroseismology: Watching the pulsations of the heart of the stars

      Who remember that CoRoT (Convection, Rotations et Transits planétaires) was at first an asteroseismology mission? When the first proposal was submitted to CNES, during the scientific prospective seminar at Saint-Malo in 1993, the first exoplanets had not yet been detected... Back to the stellar physics discoveries produced by CoRoT and its American counterpart Kepler in the Novembre issue of the Pour La Science magazine (in French).

      More information... (in French)

      • 07/2011 - Back to CoRot 9b

      On Monday 4th of July, the CoRoT satellite was again pointed towards the star CoRoT 9. Located at 1500 light years from Earth, this star, relatively similar to the Sun but a little colder, was already observed by the CoRoT satellite during summer 2008, observation which enabled to detect a planet in transit around it. Named CoRoT 9b, the planet revealed to be a "temperated Jupiter" because its mass and its composition are near Jupiter's ones and because its 95 days revolution period, located it at a distance a little further from the star than most of the detected exoplanets which are very near their stars and thus very hot. CoRoT 9b surface temperature is thus estimated between 250 and 430 K (or -23°C and 157°C).

      Of the 3 CoRoT 9b transits of the year 2011, only the 4th of July one could be observed by CoRoT. The mission was thus adapted to insert, between the two summer 2011 programmes, this short observation, object of high attention for the exoplanets specialists. The CoRoT 9b transit monitored by CoRoT in the visible domain should also be monitored by Spitzer observatory in the near infrared. Scientists hope to discover new details, about the physical characteristics as well as CoRoT 9b planet composition; is it surrounded by moons or rings, is its orbit disturbed by the presence of other planets, are a few of the questions that the scientists will try to answer after analysis of the precious measurements collected by CoRoT telescope.

      • 07/2011 - Stars and Planets on the menu of the 2nd CoRoT Symposium

      CoRoT symposium in June 2011The Second CoRoT Symposium took place from June 14th to 17th, 2011 at the Palais des Congrès in Marseille. Nearly 200 researchers in stellar physics and exoplanetology where gathered to exchange their results and analyses, obtained in particular with the space photometry satellite CoRoT and its American "big brother" Kepler. Pioneer studies on extrasolar planets in transit before their star and on interior of all kinds of stars have been shown and discuted by experts in these two research domains.

      Ten new planets discovered by CoRoT and measured by complementary observations from the ground have been announced by the CoRoT team (in addition to the 15 already known). Out of about 400 identified candidates in CoRoT light curves, the observations from the ground have already established the nature of about 200 systems.

      Beyond the new results of the CoRoT mission, it can be noticed that, since the first Symposium (February 2009 in Paris), the scientists dedicated their time to the in depth interpretation of the properties of the stars and planets observed by CoRoT. It clearly appeared that connections between stars and planets had numerous and varied aspects that CoRoT and Kepler space missions enable to study in details.

      These connections where at the center of this second Symposium, and the meeting of the two scientific communities, which most often work separately, was a big success during this week. The planets properties are majorly influenced by the star near which they formed and evolved: the tides interactions and the magnetic connections begin to be constrainted by the observations obtained by CoRoT and Kepler, for example the superposition of a transiting planet and a set of dark spots on the surface of the star. The evolution models which until now where separated between stars and planets, begin to be understood in a combined way. The star variability, which characteristics are extremely complexes (the Sun appears to be a lowly variable star), influence the detection of the planets around them, and the in depth understanding of these phenomena is a requirement for today and future researches of planets similar to the Earth. Beyond CoRoT, the space instruments of the future PLATO and ECho, under study at ESA, should extend to mid term these inter-connected analyses of the stars and planets.

      • 06/2011 - CoRoT discovers 10 new extra-solar planets

      14 June 2011 -- The satellite CoRoT has identified through transit 10 new exoplanets, that were confirmed with follow-up observations from the ground. Seven are hot Jupiters, with sometimes unusual properties, and three have smaller masses: one is slightly smaller than Saturn, and two are Neptune-sized planets orbiting the same star. These discoveries were announced at the second CoRoT Symposium, held this week in Marseille.

      Read the complete press release on the Paris Observatory website

      • 05/2011 - 2nd CoRoT Symposium will be held in Marseille, France, in June 2011, from 14 to 17th

      More information about the symposium at the dedicated website:

      • 04/2011 - The astronomers aim at the heart of red giants

      An international team including scientists from LESIA (Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Université Paris Diderot), from AIM (CEA-Irfu, CNRS, Université Paris Diderot) and from IAS (CNRS, Université Paris-Sud 11) succeded in measuring oscillations that directly probe the heart of red giants. With Nasa's Kepler and CNES' CoRoT satellites data, astrophysicists now access directly the heart of these stars, a domain up to now impenetrable to analysis. The scientists used stellar sismology, which consists in analyzing the very faint variations of light from a star, which reflect oscillations of its structure. They could distinguish where nuclear fusion reactions are located, depending on cases at the heart itself of the star or in the more external layers: a major discovery for the understanding of the red giant stars, because until now nothing enabled the isolation of these two particular steps in the life of a star. The results are published in Nature, March 31, 2011.

      More information on the INSU website (in French)
      Also read the article in Nature