The optical performance of the seismology channel is already excellent. While acquiring images for calibration, COROT detected its 1st stray object: a piece of debris from a Delta 1 rocket launched in 1984, which left an easily identifiable track on the CCD in the middle of the star background. The object’s trajectory in the image exactly matches that calculated by NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command).
COROT then acquired its 1st images on the exoplanet channel on the night of 31 January to 1 February. Needless to say, they were eagerly awaited by the many exoplanet specialists gathered together at CNES for the occasion. Scientists are now poring over the images to plan future observations. The science mission can therefore begin as planned within the next 48 hours.
First light revisited
So, not surprisingly, the atmosphere in the main mission control room on Wednesday 17 January was a mixture of tension and anticipation. “Emotions were running almost as high as for the launch,” says Laurent Boisnard, COROT System Manager.
All critical steps completed
Opening of the protective cap. Crédits: CNES .