CoRoT, the French stellar photometry satellite, had a press announcement at 1 pm (Paris time) today
They announced the discovery of CoRoT Exo-2b their second extrasolar planet.
3.5 Jupiter masses, 1.4 Jupiter radii with an orbital period of 1.743 days around a K0V star, 12th magnitude.
UPDATE: ESA press release in English
Should note here that CoRoT is now follow-up limited. Transit discoveries are currently announced after ground confirmation to get radial velocities, so first announcements will be high mass, short period, because those are easiest to follow-up, and easiest to pick out of the data (frequent and deep transits).
Looking at the actual transit curves, the relative photometry continues to be astonishing and either there are no close-in small planets out there (which we already know is not the case), or CoRoT will be making some more announcements... Real Soon Now! ;-)
Here is the full press release.
Some interesting stellar variability data.
More when it is not 7 am, local, and after the munchkins are off to their educational institutions.
UPDATE: so, what have we got?
Data release was 10th of dec. It is proprietary, don't know that it will be made public, anyone know CNES archive policy?
12,000 light curves for the first 150 day "long stare".
Early results are cherry picking.
If I read it correctly, they are claiming micromagnitude relative photometry (presumably for the brighter targets only), which is photon limited, as previously stated. This implied sensitivity to short period terrestrial planets, especially for earlier type stars, once they start digging into the data - I mean the Exo-2b data is visible by naked eye, no need for folding or statistical tests, it is a >> 1000 sigma discovery.
The hard work will be digging into the marginal significance detections, with the right "transit" shape, and colour invariant, rejecting the medium period quasi-periodic stellar variability, and then rejecting the grazing transits and triple blended transits.
And then ground based followup... the most interesting transits will not be confirmable from the ground, the velocity amplitude will be too small and the photometric variability will be too small - there will be candidates for future confirmation and CoRoT followup to see if they're still there or went away after year, and then statistical arguments for detection.
There's going to be lots of planetary candidated to followup and explain.
Hard work, as they say.
The astroseismology stuff is very important bread'n'butter science - it will provide strong tests of stellar structure models and local populations.
Now that there is good data on more than one star, we can improve our understanding of stars in general to close to the level of understanding we have of the Sun ;-)
(with thanks to my personal translator, who is underpaid and overworked...)
Well, they say that COROT-exo-2 is pretty active so maybe looking for other planets there is trickier than usual.
How interesting is the stellar seismology result on those two sunlike stars? I don't have a good feel for such things.