CoRoT update – With Malcolm Fridlund

We have received information regarding CoRoT, from the mission’s Project Scientist, and BtC collaborator, Malcolm Fridlund.

What do you want to read first? The good or the bad news? Maybe we should start from the last to move on to the positive side right afterwards. 


CoRoT has lost one if its detector chains, what does this mean? Nothing good I’m afraid…it means that the spacecraft saw its field-of-view decreased to half, what has as a major consequence a considerable reducing of potential observed objects to 50% of the previous capacity.


Let’s take this to the other side…in what concerns good news Malcolm Fridlund tells us that the team is still working on CoRoT-exo-7b, which is presented, here by the Project Scientist, as a rocky planet. The first paper is already with the referees and the second and third in the process of writing at the moment.

Some days ago, on a previous thread a BtC reader, José Miguel, made a comment in which he adressed a question to Malcolm Fridlund, here is the quote:


Hi Rui today I have read an interesting interview with Pierre Barge (responsible of the CoRoT exoplanet research programme at Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille) where he says that they clearly expected to find more exoplanets by now: ”Nous trouvons moitié moins de planètes que nous l’espérions.” They even postulated that there might be a problem with the methods of detection: “Cela nous a tellement intrigués que nous avons d’abord pensé qu’il y avait un problème dans les méthodes de détection.”

I know that there are some limitations with corot like the short span of time it takes staring at the same field.. but can this be the indication of something more? like limitations of the transit method?


Malcolm provided an answer to this:


In what concerns the comments of Pierre Barge I agree with him. I think we have a lot of (small) planets in our data and our automatic algorithms don’t find the juicy ones yet. But we are getting there and with CoRoT data becoming public I expect more and more results. There will be 70 CoRoT papers in a separate issue of A&A soon with over thirty more for later issues.



    • Galzi
    • March 31st, 2009

    I hope it’s really a problem with the methods of detection and not a real scarcity of planets. Kepler will give us soon better planetary statistics, but according to present Harps data 1/3 of solar-type stars have neptunes or superearths with orbital periods of fifty days or less, i.e. a planetary population well within Corot reach if they happen to transit their star. Are there issues with unexpected noise sources or sistematics that are swamping the small guys from the lightcurves?

    The loss of the detector chain is worrying, especially now that Corot is approaching the end of its nominal mission. Is there a chance to have the mission extended after this accident?

  1. March 31st, 2009
  2. September 9th, 2009

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