The Kepler Mission

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jumpjack2

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Astro_Robert":9bbue5kh said:
Since its been 3 monhts since the last data release, I thought I would bump this thread as we await the next release.

I also note that on the Kepler page, they have now updated the graphic to display the locations of the 7 confirmed planets, whereas for the psat couple of weeks, it read a count of 7 but only displayed 5 on the graphic of the field of view.

Hopefully, we will get the next quarter of observations soon.
By the way, has this link to full Kepler data been posted already?
http://archive.stsci.edu/kepler/planet_candidates.html

I tried studying them a bit, but I was not able to determine if "planets" distance from their stars and "planets" estimated surface temperatures are present.
 
E

EarthlingX

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www.nasa.gov : Kepler Mission Manager Update
Sept. 28, 2010

The Kepler Project Team completed another quarterly roll of the spacecraft Sept. 22-23, 2010. The roll will keep Kepler spacecraft power generation nominal for the fall season with proper alignment of the solar arrays toward the sun. During the contact with the spacecraft, engineers also downloaded another month of science data, marking the end of Quarter 6 science data collection. Quarter 7 science data collection has begun and the first month of Quarter 7 science data is expected to be downloaded approximately Oct. 22-23, 2010.

Science team members are preparing to announce the mission’s latest discovery in early November. Additionally, the science team is expected to validate the Kepler 9d planet in the near future. Kepler 9d, which is about one and a half times larger than Earth, was announced as a planetary candidate at a media telecon held Aug. 26, 2010.

The Kepler Science Working Group recently convened at NASA Ames Research Center for a project review. Many topics were discussed, including an overview of the program status; a review of Kepler 9b, 9d, and 9d; an update on Kepler planetary candidates; the status of Kepler’s Follow-on Observation Program and the progress on planetary candidate confirmation and validation; and future venues for Kepler Science Team member participation. Many Kepler Science Team members are planning to attend the American Astronomical Society Meeting in early January 2011 in Seattle, Wash.

In addition to its prime goal of planet hunting, the Kepler Mission puts such discoveries in proper context by determining properties of the stars hosting planets. A primary technique making use of the Kepler data for this utilizes the detection of small oscillations on the star and is known as asteroseismology. Using asteroseismology, scientists are able to make, relative to other techniques, very accurate measurements of the stellar radius, and stellar age. Applications of asteroseismology are supporting current planet detection publications, and many independent science results from the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium (KASC), which operates under the auspices of the Kepler Mission, facilitate optimal use of asteroseismology data.

The KASC submitted a total of 16 papers during June 2010, most of which are now accepted for publication in international, peer-reviewed journals. The KASC is preparing a larger number of papers for submission in October 2010. These topics of these papers range from statistical analyses of stellar properties for several hundred dwarf stars of the solar type that allow detailed testing of Kepler Input Catalog values, to independent study of individual oscillating stars.
 
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newtons_laws

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The recently announced results from a team using data from the Earth based Keck telescope of their discovery of an Earth sized planet right in the middle of the star's habitable "Goldilocks" zone is very interesting, and prompts the question as to whether the star in question, Gliese 581 (a Red Dwarf), is one of the stars being measured by the Kepler mission?
Article on new planet Gliese 581g
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/fea ... ature.html

The planet's orbital period is stated to be only 37 days - the habitable zone of a Red Dwarf type star being much closer to the star than for our sun due to the greatly reduced luminosity. With such a relatively short period Kepler should be able to acquire the minimum 3 orbits worth of data in a fairly short time - providing of course that viewed from Kepler the planet transits the star's surface.
 
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jumpjack2

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newtons_laws":3974jvfj said:
The recently announced results from a team using data from the Earth based Keck telescope of their discovery of an Earth sized planet right in the middle of the star's habitable "Goldilocks" zone is very interesting, and prompts the question as to whether the star in question, Gliese 581 (a Red Dwarf), is one of the stars being measured by the Kepler mission?
Article on new planet Gliese 581g
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/fea ... ature.html

The planet's orbital period is stated to be only 37 days - the habitable zone of a Red Dwarf type star being much closer to the star than for our sun due to the greatly reduced luminosity. With such a relatively short period Kepler should be able to acquire the minimum 3 orbits worth of data in a fairly short time - providing of course that viewed from Kepler the planet transits the star's surface.
AFAIK, Gliese 581 is not a "transit-system", i.e. its planets can't be detected at all by Kepler.
 
A

alpha_centauri

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Yes, assuming a similar inclination to the others then the planet won't transit. That and Kepler isn't looking at it anyway. Kepler stares constantly at a relatively small patch of sky between Cygnus and Lyra. Gliese 581 is in Libra so Kepler won't be observing it.
 
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Astro_Robert

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I am happy that the Kepler researchers are writing papers and learning things (which is after all the goal of the mission), however I would definitely be happier if I don't have to wait until next June for the next public data release. I anticipated that data would be released with only a year of exclusivity, which implies quarterly releases. I checked the Kepler FAQs, and found that quarterly releases are the plan anyway:


FAQ A9: When will the Kepler Mission Science Office release data on planets detected by transits?
Data for each 3-month observation period will be made public within one year of the end the observation period. For stars that get dropped from the planet search program, data will be made public within 2 months of their being dropped.


Since it appears that there will be some kind of announcement in early Nov (just a couple weeks) I can wait, but I am getting very anxious for more data to bea released.
 
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MeteorWayne

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International Team Of Astronomers To Discuss Kepler Findings WASHINGTON --

The Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium (KASC) at Aarhus University in Denmark will hold a media teleconference on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 11 a.m. EDT to discuss the latest discoveries about stars and their structures using data from NASA's Kepler spacecraft.

Kepler, an observatory launched in March 2009, is designed to search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. NASA and the KASC developed a joint collaboration to further our understanding of the structure and evolution of stars.

NASA's science team uses Kepler data to search for exoplanets, planets outside of the solar system. KASC uses it to investigate the astrophysics of stars. By using the natural pulse of stellar light waves, the research team has examined and characterized thousands of stars, thereby gaining new insights into stellar structure and evolution.

At the beginning of the telecon, supporting information will be posted at:

http://astro.phys.au.dk/KASC/

The panelists are:

-- Natalie Batalha, professor of physics and astronomy, San Jose State University, California and co-investigator on NASA's Kepler Mission
-- Hans Kjeldsen, associate professor, KASC, Aarhus University, Denmark
-- Travis S. Metcalfe, scientist at The National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
-- Daniel Huber, Ph.D. student, University of Sydney, Australia
-- Thomas Kallinger, postdoctoral student, Universities of British Columbia, Canada
-- Katrien Kolenberg, postdoctoral student, Institute of Astronomy in Vienna, Austria
-- Steven Bloemen, Ph.D. student, Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio
 
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AdmiralRitt

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Looking at the future and crossing fingers, assuming Kepler finishes it's scheduled mission.

I wonder if there is enough endurance to scan another part of the sky.
For example what about looking along the orion arm in the Anti-spinward direction. that would
place the search field near the Vela constellation. Why not scan it if there is enough fuel.

Also. Playing with parameters
For lower mass K stars. Say about 50% solar mass. with a luminosities around 10%.
If we get lucky and find a terrestrial world in a system like that, it's habitability Zone is going to be
somewhere near Mercury's orbit of about 38 Million miles. (Avg) Assuming an orbital period of say 90 days,
we should have Positive confirmation no later than about 360 days. That is for a lightweight star like this.

For those that object, remember that it could just happen that Kepler was started looking at a star just AFTER
there was a transit. So 3x90 + 90 = 360. It's probably the reason why Kepler has a 4 Plus mission endurance.
So It may take up to 365 x 3 + 365 for a exo-planet at 1 AU to be confimred

It also means Kepler will not be able to fully confirm planets around F class stars, that are in the Habitability zone
if say at Mars distance. Follow ups from earth will be needed.
 
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EarthlingX

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SDC : Starquakes Viewed by Spacecraft Hold Secrets of Stellar Evolution
By Mike Wall
SPACE.com Senior Writer
posted: 26 October 2010
03:30 pm ET



A NASA spacecraft designed to seek out alien worlds has also revealed new details about the structure and evolution of stars, and should help astronomers better understand the future of our own sun, researchers announced today (Oct. 26).

Researchers measured so-called "starquakes," observing oscillations in the brightness of thousands of stars in much the same way geologists study earthquakes to probe our planet's interior. NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft served as their tool.

The method, called asteroseismology, is helping astronomers characterize stars as never before, researchers said during a news conference at Aarhus University in Denmark.

"We are just about to enter a new area in stellar astrophysics," Thomas Kallinger, of the University of British Columbia and the University of Vienna, said in a statement. "Kepler provides us with data of such good quality that they will change our view of how stars work in detail."
...


http://www.nasa.gov : RELEASE : 10-276 : NASA'S Kepler Spacecraft Takes Pulse Of Distant Stars
Oct. 26, 2010

WASHINGTON -- An international cadre of scientists that used data from NASA's Kepler spacecraft announced Tuesday the detection of stellar oscillations, or "starquakes," that yield new insights about the size, age and evolution of stars.

The results were presented at a news conference at Aarhus University in Denmark by scientists representing the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium (KASC). The team studied thousands of stars observed by Kepler, releasing what amounts to a roster of some of humanity's most well-characterized stars.

Analysis of stellar oscillations is similar to how seismologists study earthquakes to probe the Earth's interior. This branch of science, called astroseismology, produces measurements of stars the Kepler science team is anxious to have.

"Using the unparalleled data provided by Kepler, KASC scientists are quite literally revolutionizing our understanding of stars and their structures," said Douglas Hudgins, Kepler Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "What's more, they are doing so at no cost to the American taxpayer. All the KASC scientists are supported by research funding from their home countries. It is a perfect illustration of the tremendous value that our international partners bring to NASA missions."

In the results presented Tuesday, one oscillating star took center stage: KIC 11026764 has the most accurately known properties of any star in the Kepler field. In fact, few stars in the universe are known to similar accuracy. At an age of 5.94 billion years, it has grown to a little over twice the diameter of the sun and will continue to do so as it transforms into a red giant. The oscillations reveal that this star is powered by hydrogen fusion in a thin shell around a helium-rich core.

"We are just about to enter a new area in stellar astrophysics," said Thomas Kallinger, lead author on a study of red giant stars and postdoctoral fellow at the Universities of British Columbia and Vienna. "Kepler provides us with data of such good quality that they will change our view of how stars work in detail."

KASC scientists also reported on the star RR Lyrae. It has been studied for more than 100 years as the first member of an important class of stars used to measure cosmological distances. The brightness, or light wave amplitude, of the star oscillates within a well-known period of about 13.5 hours. Yet during that period, other small cyclic changes in amplitude occur -- behavior known as the Blazhko effect.

The effect has puzzled astronomers for decades, but thanks to Kepler data, scientists may have a clue as to its origin. Kepler observations revealed an additional oscillation period that had never been previously detected. The oscillation occurs with a time scale twice as long as the 13.5-hour period. The Kepler data indicates the doubling is linked to the Blazhko effect.

"Kepler data ultimately will give us a better understanding of the future of our sun and the evolution of our galaxy as a whole," said Daniel Huber, lead author on one of the KASC studies.

Launched in March 2009, Kepler was designed to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft uses a huge digital camera, known as a photometer, to continuously monitor the brightness of more than 150,000 stars in its field of view as it orbits around the sun. Kepler searches for distant worlds by looking for "transits," when a planet passes in front of a star, briefly causing it to dim. The amount of dimming reveals the size of the planet compared to the size of the star.

For more information about the findings by the KASC scientists, visit:

http://astro.phys.au.dk/KASC/

For more information about the Kepler mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler
 
A

AdmiralRitt

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http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso0729/

One of things that Kepler could really shed light on is what exactly a star with high Metalicity (Iron mostly)
implies. The article above shes light on the quandry of metalicity of stars.

No one seems to want to state the obivious, Stars eat Protoplanets, and even real planets.
The High amount of Metals may indicate a Gluttonous Star. If I have read things correctly, all elements
get highly ionized when they fall to the gaseous upper atmosphere of a star. I don't believe chemical compounds
can exist. So you can pretty much examine the stars meal. I suspect that is what went on in the alpha centauri
system. Over 150% more metals that the sun for A & B centaurus. and no sign of planets. Considering the chaotic
nature of the A-B system, It would not be surprising that Most if not ALL of planetary bodies that once existed there,
were Ejected out of the system or are a nice evenly spread out goo in the stellar atmosphere.
 
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MeteorWayne

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You kind of missed the point. the metallicity of a star is merely a reflection of the protostellar mass. If it had high metallicity (and again, remember, in this context metal doesn't mean metal as it does for us, it means anything heavier than Helium) to begin with, then rocky planets can form. Will they? That seems to depend on a lot of stochastic factors. Whether the star eats them or not is almost irrelevant, since the absorbtion of a planet would only cause a short term spike in the stellar spectrum. Over the long term, the metallicity is that of the protostellar cloud and the star.
 
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Astro_Robert

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New data coming - in Feb-2011, sigh. Its nice that the data is coming out on a definite timeframe, but that is quite a bit later than I was looking for. The article link below also contains a further link to the MAST archive. I am curious because the Nov-10 news indicated that there was an earlier release plan, and I have decided to try to look to see if later Quarters also have such release plans and when they may be.


http://kepler.nasa.gov/news/nasakeplernews/

Nov-10, 2010
The Kepler project wishes to inform the community that it is moving
the next data release date (originally planned for June 2011) forward
to 1 February 2011. This data set (Quarter 2) is the first consisting
of a complete 3 months of observations. It will contain light curves
for approximately 165,000 stars (most of which are late-type Main
Sequence stars) brighter than 16th magnitude in the Cygnus & Lyra
constellations sampled at a 30-minute cadence. Three subsets of
one-month each of [up to 512] stars were sampled at 1 min cadence. The shorter
cadence data will be released on the same schedule.
 
3

3488

Guest
Thanks Astro_Robert,

This should be interesting. Hopefully much more steller science & planetary finds will be announced. The data realese / announcemts will be widley spaced apart due to the fact KEPLER takes time to accumulate meaningful data.

Andrew.
 
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