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COROT and DAWN March 28, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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Just a couple space notes to post.

First I must say how annoying misinformation is. War. Space. Whatever. Why must people continually be misinformed by not only the media, but those around us. Okay, on with the post.

On March 21 Astronomy Magazine, at astronomy.com, reported that the joint European Space Agency and Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES-this is the French national space agency) COROT mission was set for a June 2006 launch. The COROT spacecraft will represent the forefront of the search for extrasolar planets.

But it looks like Astronomy Magazine is just wrong on the launch date, at least according to a press secretary at CNES who told me the launch was presently scheduled for October 2006. Inspired by my general interest in extrasolar planets I checked out the CNES web material on COROT, mainly because I hadn’t heard of the mission before.

But I found conflicting data on when this telescope would launch. There was this, which simply said end 2006. Then the ESA says June 2006, which explains the Astronomy Magazine report

I spit in the general direction of misinformation. Stepping off my soapbox for just a moment, regardless of when COROT launches its going to be some exciting stuff.

COROT

COROT’s mission is twofold. I mentioned the search for extrasolar planets earlier. COROT will search for a class of terrestrial planet known as “Super Earths”, recently confirmed to exist, through a method of observation known as transit method, basically a planet crosses in front of the star and blocks some of its light making the star appear slightly dimmer, this can be detected. Venus performed a similar transit in our own solar system that was visible from Earth in 2004.

COROT’s second mission is to study other stars. COROT will study sound waves which resonate through the star and produce ‘starquakes.’ The starquakes ripple outward, across the star, altering its brightness.

The nature of these ripples allows astronomers to calculate a star’s precise mass, age and composition. Known as astroseismology, the technique has been used for years by the ESA to observe the Sun. The information will help astronomers compare the Sun to other stars, which can, in turn, assist in the search for extraterrestrial life.

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DAWN

DAWN mission to Ceres and Vesta reinstated! Yay!

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