Kepler News and Results

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Re: Kepler News and Results

I agree with Daniel. After examining the abstracts for the AAS Meeting, I'm going to revise my estimated exoplanet discoveries downward from 50 to 10. It doesn't look real promising for a large number of detections in this round. I guess I'll have to be patient and read up on other Kepler related subjects. Who knows, I might actually learn something interesting.

If the number of detections announced is a low number (below project expectations), I hope someone somewhere provides us with some kind of explanation so we can put this into meaningful context.

AlSchmitt
Micrometeorite

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Re: Kepler News and Results

AlSchmitt wrote:I guess I'll have to be patient and read up on other Kepler related subjects. Who knows, I might actually learn something interesting.

http://solar-flux.forumandco.com/extrasolar-news-and-discoveries-f2/most-important-exoplanets-discoveries-in-2009-top10-t482.htm

Borislav
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Re: Kepler News and Results

I wonder if the Kepler data will confirm the reported orbital inclination change of TrES-2. Convenient that this system lies in the Kepler field, really.

Lazarus
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Re: Kepler News and Results

AlSchmitt wrote:If the number of detections announced is a low number (below project expectations), I hope someone somewhere provides us with some kind of explanation so we can put this into meaningful context.

The mission hasn't been going on too long yet. The bottleneck of transiting planet surveys is the radial velocity confirmation. This is harder on dimmer stars like those Kepler is looking at. If they announce any more than two planets, I personally will be surprised.

I am worried that the expectations on the Kepler mission will damage how valuable it is seen as. I remember back when they were going to have the first news conference of the CoRoT mission. There was lots of hype by those who weren't involved with the mission, and we all expected a bag full of planets. The announcement of a single hot Jupiter came as a big disappointment (and that this same stunt was pulled later didn't help).

Regardless of what is put forward in this upcoming January conference, remember that the best is yet to come, and that these are only the initial results of the mission.

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Sirius_Alpha

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Some close in Double transiting systems should not need RV confirmation. A few additional transits
is all that may be required.

Transit timing should even take care of the false positives.

So, potentially the most interesting systems should be the easiest to work out.

But not at this early date though. Hopefully soon.

I'm more worried that Kepler, is the only thing out there for the foreseeable future.

If any sort of issue develops wrt rocky worlds, and there have been some challenges recently,
this might be it for terrestrial planets from space for a looong time.

TheoA
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Re: Kepler News and Results

exact on the point TheoA!

that is was i try to explain for the people Corot Results:

http://solar-flux.forumandco.com/extrasolar-news-and-discoveries-f2/corot-results-t9-180.htm

Daniel
SuperEarth

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Re: Kepler News and Results

http://arxiv.org/abs/1001.0268

Borislav
Jovian

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Re: Kepler News and Results

http://arxiv.org/abs/1001.0352

Borislav
Jovian

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Well there are certainly interesting results in here... that tidal bulge detection is impressive, probably the most impressive exoplanet-related result from Kepler that's so far been published on the arXiv.

As for the discovered planets, given it is a 43-day survey and you need 3 transits, plus the confirmation results, it isn't too surprising that they are hot Jupiters (though the hot Neptune is definitely encouraging at this stage). Remember as you go to longer periods, you are not only up against lower geometric probabilities of transit, you've also got the lack of intermediate-period giant planets (evidenced by radial-velocity surveys) as well. Hopefully Kepler will give some more constraints on the extent of the "intermediate-period desert" in due course.

Lazarus
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Re: Kepler News and Results

Lazarus wrote:...that tidal bulge detection is impressive, probably the most impressive exoplanet-related result from Kepler that's so far been published on the arXiv.

Lazarus can you elaborate.

I saw a comment about mass confirmation with out RV follow up.

Was that what you meant?

TheoA
Planetary Embryo

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Re: Kepler News and Results

He's referring to the tidal distortion of the star's shape as an influence by the gravity of the planet. It didn't occur to me before that this could be used to take a stab at the planet mass, but I would imagine an extremely accurate photometer on a rather bright star would be needed. It might be rare that this is ever used to derive a pre-RV mass measurement of the planet.

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Sirius_Alpha

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Re: Kepler News and Results

It's more the confirmation that Kepler is going to be able to characterise some of the systems it observes very well indeed. So far the tides raised by exoplanets have been observed only indirectly via the rotation of the star (and perhaps also through the distribution of orbits of close-in planets). Now the tidal bulges themselves are coming into view. Sure, getting results about smaller planets is important, but so is building up the sample of well-characterised systems. It's a good thing to look beyond HD 209458b and HD 189733b - the hot Jupiters are apparently a very varied group of planets, there are no doubt still surprises in store.

Lazarus
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Re: Kepler News and Results

Lazarus wrote:It's a good thing to look beyond HD 209458b and HD 189733b - the hot Jupiters are apparently a very varied group of planets, there are no doubt still surprises in store.

Absolutely! If it orbits a star, it's worth being studied!

From the paper describing the detection of tidal bulges at HAT-P-7
The brightness temperature we measured in the Kepler bandpass may exceed the equilibrium temperature simply because the planet is not a blackbody, and at other wavelengths, lower temperatures may be measured. We speculate on two other possibilities to escape from this conundrum, both related to the presence of a third body in the HAT-P-7 system. First, the planet may genuinely be hotter then the equilibrium temperature due to non-radiative heating, perhaps tidal heating due to an encounter with another object (recall the nearly 80 degree offset between the orbit and stellar spin axis — Winn et al. (2009)). A more mundane, but perhaps more likely, explanation is that light from a third body is contaminating the flux ratios. The acceleration term in the radial velocities suggests the presence of another body (Winn et al. 2009), so this scenario needs to be further investigated as more data become available
(emphasis mine).

Edit: Kepler-4 b paper.

Kepler-4b: Hot Neptune-Like Planet of a G0 Star Near Main-Sequence Turnoff
http://arxiv.org/abs/1001.0604

Last edited by Sirius_Alpha on 5th January 2010, 9:16 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Adding Kepler-4 b paper.)

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Sirius_Alpha

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Re: Kepler News and Results

If it is third body contamination being seen in the HAT-P-7 light curves, I'd guess it may be a very low mass star, perhaps something akin to OGLE-TR-122b?

Lazarus
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Re: Kepler News and Results

A test for that might be to see if the contamination shows any sort of phase modulation. I would expect a non-luminous source to display such a quality.

Edit:
Discovery of the Transiting Planet Kepler-5b
http://arxiv.org/abs/1001.0913

Last edited by Sirius_Alpha on 6th January 2010, 9:05 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Adding Kepler-5 b paper.)

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Sirius_Alpha

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Borislav wrote:http://arxiv.org/abs/1001.0352

http://www.noao.edu/perl/abstract?2010A-0079
Title: Speckle Imaging and Spectroscopy of Kepler Exo-planet Transit Candidate Stars
Abstract: The NASA Kepler mission was successfully launched on 6 March 2009 and has begun science operations. Commissioning tests done early on in the mission have shown that for the bright sources, 10-15 ppm relative photometry can be achieved. This level assures we will detect Earth- like transits if they are present. Hot Jupiter" and similar large planet candidates have already been discovered and will be discussed at the Jan. AAS meeting as well as in a special issue of Science magazine to appear near years end. The plethora of variability observed is astounding and includes a number of eclipsing binaries which appear to have Jupiter and smaller size objects as an orbiting their body. Our proposal consists of three highly related objectives: 1) To continue our highly successful speckle imaging program which is a major component of defense to weed out false positive candidate transiting planets found by Kepler and move the rest to probable or certain exo-planet detections; 2) To obtain low resolution discovery" type spectra for planet candidate stars in order to provide spectral type and luminosity class indicators as well as a first look triage to eliminate binaries and rapid rotators; and 3) to obtain ~1Aresolution time ordered spectra of eclipsing binaries that are exo-planet candidates in order to obtain the velocity solution for the binary star, allowing its signal to be modeled and removed from the Keck or HET exo-planet velocity search. As of this writing, Kepler has produced a list of 227 exo-planet candidates which require false positive decision tree observations. Our proposed effort performs much of the first line of defense for the mission.

Borislav
Jovian

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Re: Kepler News and Results

http://www.noao.edu/perl/abstract?2010A-0202
Title: Spectroscopic Orbits for Eclipsing Binaries Among the NASA Kepler Observatory Targets
Abstract: We are starting a program of precise photometry with the NASA Kepler Observatory to search for variations in minimum light timing for intermediate mass eclipsing binaries. Such periodic variations will reveal the reflex motion caused by any distant, low mass object that orbits the close binary. Kepler's unprecedented accuracy and continuous observations provide a unique opportunity to detect low mass companions to these targets, down to a few Jupiter masses. To further constrain the properties of the unseen third companion, we need to determine the properties of the central binary as well. The goal of this proposal is to obtain spectra of these targets in order to derive radial velocities and produce a double-lined spectroscopic orbit. This orbit, when combined with the eclipsing light curve from Kepler data, will give highly accurate masses and radii for the components of the central binary, and will constrain the mass ratio for the unseen companion, allowing a rough classification of the object.

Borislav
Jovian

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Sirius_Alpha:

http://kepler.nasa.gov/Mission/discoveries/

and the mission's page:

http://kepler.nasa.gov/

exoplanet
Planetesimal

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Possible loss of a CCD module (5% of Kepler FOV)
http://www.kepler.arc.nasa.gov/news/mmu/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=22

On Jan. 12, 2010, the Kepler project team detected an anomaly with a portion of the Kepler focal plane. One of the modules, MOD-3, that contains two of Kepler’s 42 Charge-Coupled-Devices (CCDs), transmitted anomalous data. There are 21 modules that comprise Kepler’s electronic light sensors, or “eyes.” The possible loss of the module represents a loss of five percent of the Kepler Field-of-View. An Anomaly Response Team continues to investigate the anomaly. Initial indications are that the anomaly is isolated and not expected to affect other modules. The Kepler project team is working on plans to correct the anomaly or to minimize the impact of the possible loss of the module and the reduction in Field-of-View. Provisions were included in Kepler’s design to accommodate degradation in Kepler’s performance as the mission progresses. Additional telemetry is being gathered from the spacecraft to facilitate analysis of the anomaly. The module will remain offline pending further trouble-shooting and analysis. In the event the module functionality cannot be restored, Kepler still is expected to fully meet its mission goals for detecting Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of other stars.

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Sirius_Alpha

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Ouch!

Again as noted before this will actually affect 20% of the FOV as the instrument executes its quarterly roll.

It does seem particularly snake bitten at the moment.

TheoA
Planetary Embryo

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Although again as noted before, each region of that 20% is affected 25% of the time, so it is not a write-off of the 20% affected.

Lazarus
dG star

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Looks like a lot of it will be old news, but there maybe something new next month?

http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/APR10/Event/124788

Session V1: Plenary Session III

8:30 AM–10:18 AM, Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 1-2

Chair: Michael Turner, University of Chicago
Abstract: V1.00002 : Status of Kepler Mission and Early Discoveries

9:06 AM–9:42 AM

Author:

William J. Borucki
(NASA Ames Research Center)

Kepler is a Discovery-class mission designed to determine the frequency of Earth-size planets in and near the habitable zone of solar-like stars. The instrument consists of a 0.95 m aperture photometer designed to obtain high precision photometric measurement of $>$ 100,000 stars to search for patterns of transits. The focal plane of the Schmidt-type telescope contains 42 CCDs with at total of 95 megapixels that cover 115 square degrees of sky. The photometer was launched into an Earth-trailing heliocentric orbit on March 6, 2009, finished its commissioning on May 12, and is now in the science operations mode. During the commissioning, data were obtained at a 30 minute cadence for 53,000 stars for 9.7 days. During the first 33.5 days of science-mode operation, 156,000 stars have been observed. Discoveries based on these data are presented. Although the data have not yet been corrected for the presence of systematic errors and artifacts, the data show the presence of hundreds of eclipsing binary stars and variable stars of amazing variety. To provide some estimate of the capability of the photometer, a quick analysis of the photometric precision was made. Analysis of the commissioning data also show transits, occultations and light emitted from the known exoplanet HAT-P7b. The data show a smooth rise and fall of light from the planet as it orbits its star, punctuated by a drop of 130$\pm$11 ppm in flux when the planet passes behind its star. We interpret this as the phase variation of the dayside thermal emission from the planet plus reflected light as it orbits its star and is occulted. The depth of the occultation is similar in amplitude to that expected from a transiting Earth-size planet and demonstrates that the Mission has the precision necessary to detect such planets. Discoveries of several new exoplanets are shown and compared with known exoplanets with respect to mass, size, density, and orbital period. Detection of stellar oscillations and unusual objects are also presented.

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Sirius_Alpha

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Safe mode event on Feb 2.
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/news/keplerm-20100208.html

Engineers immediately began telemetry analysis to determine the spacecraft’s subsystem health, and cause of the malfunction. Initial telemetry analysis indicated errant data from the star trackers, which caused the spacecraft’s fault protection software to execute a safe mode.

The scientific data, collected since the last download of science data in January, was not in danger and was downloaded successfully via the NASA Deep Space Network during recovery operations. Engineers verified that all of Kepler's systems were functioning correctly and successfully recovered the vehicle from safe mode. The spacecraft resumed collecting scientific data on Feb. 5, 2010.

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Sirius_Alpha

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Relevant to some of the discussions about circumbinary planets, apparently one of the main limitations on the prospects of using Kepler for detection of circumbinary planets is the target selection.

Lazarus
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Re: Kepler News and Results

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/news/one_year_anniv.html
Borucki and science team predict a bright future for Kepler.

"We expect to confirm the existence of several terrestrial-size planets and I’m looking forward to the coming year," Borucki said. "It’s going to be exciting."

Borislav
Jovian

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