Artist’s view of COROT, the exoplanet hunter mission led by CNES, with ESA participation. Due for launch at the end of 2006, COROT will be placed on a circular, polar orbit around Earth that will allow for continuous observations of two large and opposite regions in the sky for more than 150 days each.
Within each region there are many selected fields that will be monitored in turn. The reason for the oppositely sited regions is that, because of the Earth’s movement around the Sun, the sun’s rays start to interfere with the observations after 150 days. COROT then rotates by 180 degrees and start observing the other region.