CNES projects library

July 4, 2016


The result of a French initiative, CoRoT was a pioneering stellar seismology and exoplanet hunting mission that ran from 2006 to 2014.

Launched on 27 December 2006, the CoRoT space telescope (Convection, Rotation and planetary Transits) continuously observed star fields in the Milky Way for periods of up to 6 months. Untested at the time, this observation method revealed several hundred candidate extrasolar planets, 34 of which were confirmed and studied in detail so far, and determined the structure, inner processes and age of thousands of stars. Over the course of 2,729 days, from its 900-km orbital perch CoRoT collected some 160,000 light curves showing variations in star brightness over time.

Initiated at a time when the first exoplanets were yet to be discovered, the CoRoT mission was executed by CNES as prime contractor with the Paris Observatoire as science lead. French, European and Brazilian research laboratories also took part in the mission. The satellite, carrying an afocal telescope with a 27-cm lens and a wide-field camera, was built around a CNES Proteus spacecraft bus. It was de-orbited on 17 June 2014.