CoRoT update – More and better data – With Malcolm Fridlund

Catching up where we left with CoRoT on the last occasion Malcolm Fridlund visited us. News about future papers, the detector chain issue and adressing answers to the following questions by Galzi, a BtC reader*:

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?

Let’s read what the Project Scientist has to say:

2009_02_004-018The special A&A issue is progressing. There is more than 70 papers being refereed for it. About the same number of papers are being in the pipeline for the next issue. A paper (not by the CoRoT team but using public CoRoT data has been accepted by Nature – it is on ArXiv under number 0904.1208 Snellen et al) so things are going fine.

The data chain 1 is gone for the moment. We do not want to heat up the spare data link onboard (where we think the error is) at this time because one needs to turn everything off first. Instead we are observing with one detector, and funnyly enough we are getting more and better data this way. This is because we have learned to select our targets better (before half of the selected targets turned out to be giants). Further we now have twice the telemetry available which means we can download twice the amount of  multicolor light curves as well as imagettes. So we are hopeful about the extension. We are still getting very good quality data.

I know of about half a dozen papers being written about exo-7b at the moment. Our main task now is to find another one. I will let you know when we find it. I am certain that the dearth of Neptunes in our data is because of our search algorithms. I think the external access to our data is going to be a huge improvement.


*We, here at Beyond the Cradle, encourage you, the reader, to express your doubts and formulate your questions, not only about CoRoT but on every theme that may land here. I am sure that with the required time answers will arrive.

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