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Planet-seeking satellite takes first images


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A planet-hunting satellite that launched in December has opened its eye to the stars. Its first images suggest the satellite's instruments are in good working order, paving the way for planet searching to begin in February.

The mission, called Convection Rotation and planetary Transits (COROT) and led by France's Centre Nationale d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), launched on 27 December from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

It will use a 27-centimetre telescope to look for the tiny brightness dips of stars caused by planets passing in front of them, potentially spotting planets just two or three times the size of Earth.

COROT's ability to spot small brightness fluctuations will also allow it to study flickering light from Sun-like stars, caused by giant sound waves that reverberate inside them.

Source: New Scientist


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