Kepler News and Results

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 10th March 2010, 11:16 pm

All seems well for now.
Another Status Report

Observations for a year now. If any transiting Earth-like planets exist around those 100,000-something stars, Kepler has probably already detected them.

The science team has just begun the follow-on observing season for 2010. At this time, the Kepler star field is visible for about one hour just before dawn. The Kepler star field will be visible for several months from the Earthís northern hemisphere.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Lazarus on 31st March 2010, 2:22 pm

Regarding that "circumbinary planet" light curve mentioned a long way back upthread, it seems that it is mentioned in the Q&A session after Bill Borucki's KITP talk.
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Mission Managerīs Update - 04.06.2010

Post by exoplanet on 6th April 2010, 4:40 pm


Data download & quarterly roll complete; software update ready
04.06.2010
Kepler Mission Manager Update April 5, 2010

The Kepler project team successfully completed another science data download
March 19-21, 2010. This download of data included science data collected
since Feb. 5, 2010, following the Safe mode recovery that occurred in early
February.

Kepler project engineers also completed a quarterly roll of the spacecraft
during this contact. The roll of the spacecraft -- done once every three
months -- keeps the spacecraft's solar arrays properly aligned toward the
sun for optimal power generation. During the contact with the spacecraft,
engineers also uploaded updated new target tables for Kepler's next
observing quarter. The data downloaded during the contact is being processed
through the Science Operations Center at NASA's Ames Research Center.

Meanwhile, Kepler project engineers are preparing for the next science data
download, scheduled for April 21-23, 2010. The next monthly data download
contact will be unique. This satellite commanding session will include an
update to flight segment software, the first update for Kepler's onboard
flight software since its launch on March 6, 2009. This upload will provide
an update to star tracker and flight software interactions to help mitigate
errors that might lead Safe mode events. The flight software update has been
in development and test for a number of weeks, and is ready for flight
operations.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Lazarus on 15th April 2010, 4:04 am

Telescope team may be allowed to sit on exoplanet data

Some interesting viewpoints on the pros and cons of this kind of thing...
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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Borislav on 15th April 2010, 8:19 am

Intermediate results:
photometry for 1 month - 177 candidates
photometry for 4 months - 227 candidates
photometry for 7 months - >328 candidates

Reminiscent of the passage of a planetary minimum between the hot and warm planets.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Borislav on 4th May 2010, 3:08 am

http://www.kepler.arc.nasa.gov/news/mmu/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=39


The Science Team continues to analyze data collected by Kepler. Keplerís list of interesting candidates has grown to well over 200. Meanwhile, the constellation Cygnus has returned to the night sky of the northern hemisphere, so the Science Team is actively involved in ground-based follow-up observations of Keplerís candidate targets. The team had over 10 nights (March 24 to April 5, 2010) on the Tillinghast Reflector at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Arizona and acquired more than 100 spectrosopic observations of our targets of interest. Another 8 nights (March 25 to April 1, 2010) using the 2.7-meter telescope at McDonald Observatory also contributed. This observing seasonís first use of the Keck 10-meter telescope at Mauna Kea, Hawaii occurred on April 27, 2010. Keck is used to obtain high-precision radial velocity measurements on our most interesting candidates.

After the completion of these observations over the next several months, interpretation and modeling of the data can begin. By late Fall, It is expected that this work will provide sufficient evidence that several candidates are actually planets rather than some other astrophysical process that only mimics planets. After all the results are reviewed by the Kepler Science Team and by peers, announcement of the new discoveries will be made this winter.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by philw1776 on 8th May 2010, 7:09 pm

Lazarus wrote:Telescope team may be allowed to sit on exoplanet data

Some interesting viewpoints on the pros and cons of this kind of thing...

While Kepler has become more secretive in its data policy, ESA is considering becomming more open. My open source software biases are for open data after a brief (some months) embargo. The public at large, and therefore the scientific community at large pays for the mission so they should enjoy its fruits. More eyes and brains will extract more and better results. The concern over press mis-representation of results seems weak. The popular scientifoc press ALWAYS goes overboard. It's inevitable.
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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 2nd June 2010, 6:09 pm

Kepler Science Conference.
http://kepler.nasa.gov/Science/keplerconference/

Dates:
December 5-6-7, 2011 (to be followed by a Kepler Science
Team meeting at the same venue on December 8-9, 2011)

Topic:
All Kepler Mission science results, from exoplanet transits and the frequency of Earth-like worlds to asteroseismology

Participants:
All interested scientists and journalists are welcome

Location:
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California in
the Building 3 Conference Center (outside the Center gates)

Three days that will no doubt be amazing... just 18 months from now.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Ancalites on 2nd June 2010, 6:52 pm

"fequency of Earth-like worlds"

This sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it. After so many years of extrasolar planet discoveries, it is incredible to think that we're finally on the verge of finding what could really be a genuine Earth-twin.

Truly we are on the cusp of something great.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Daniel on 5th June 2010, 1:09 pm

Kepler Mission Manager Update, June 4, 2010

May was a busy month for the Kepler Mission. On May 12, 2010, the
Kepler project team marked the one-year anniversary of on-orbit
operations. As we commemorated the date, the team was in the final
stages in its preparations to release Keplerís first 43 days of science
data to the public. Scheduled for June 15, 2010, the data will include
observations from more than 150,000 stars (more information below).
Meanwhile, the project successfully completed another monthly science
data download on May 20, 2010. This data volume was about 95 gigabytes,
and represented Keplerís Quarter 5, Month 2 collection. As the download
was completed, the team was already making preparations for the
upcoming June science data download, scheduled for June 22-25, 2010.
This science data download will also be made in conjunction with
another quarterly roll of the Kepler spacecraft. The roll will place
Kepler in its summer attitude for three months. This allows for
Keplerís solar arrays to be optimally aligned toward the sun for
spacecraft power generation.

The science team has worked very
hard this last month preparing for the upcoming release of data to the
public. On June 15, 2010, the first 43 days of data will become
publicly available at the Multi-Mission Archive at STScI (MAST:
http://archive.stsci.edu). The team worked around the clock to identify
as many transit-like events in those data as possible. Consequently,
the number of planet candidates has more than doubled in the last
month. And as we search for planet candidates, we inevitably find
eclipsing binary stars. In fact we found many thousands of these
eclipsing binarys! We've catalogued nearly three thousand such systems.
Both the binary catalog and a list of a few hundred planet candidates
will be published this month to coincide with the data release. It's
our hope that the public and the astronomical community will join us in
the analysis of Kepler's incredible data and in the painstaking and
methodical process of sorting out which candidates are, indeed, new
worlds.

To present a comprehensive overview of these results
to the public, four papers are being written. The first discusses the
characteristics of planetary candidates in the released data with
respect to the distributions of size, semi-major axis, and orbital
period. The location and magnitude of the stars they orbit also are
provided, so that they can be analyzed by other observers. To avoid
wasting valuable telescope time, a second paper identifies and
discusses the candidates in the released data that are believed to be
"false alarms." These are events in the released data that are caused
by astrophysical phenomena that mimic the transit pattern expected for
exoplanets. Over 2,000 eclipsing binary stars have also been found and
their identity and characteristics are discussed in a third paper. The
fourth paper discusses the discovery of several stars that show the
presence of two or more candidates transiting the same star. If these
candidates prove to be planetary systems, they will be the first
transiting multi-planet
systems ever discovered.
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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 6th June 2010, 6:06 pm

About that mysterious eclipsing binary system with extra transits superimposed on it...

exoplanet wrote:Another possibly unlikely idea is that the eclipsing binary system's light is blended with a fainter background eclipsing binary with shallow eclipses every two days or so. Still, having such an alignment of eclipsing binaries would defy odds...

Turns out you may have guessed right!

From http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNGviQ0LPDQ
One of our followup observers, we sent him some data because we had this very interesting target because it was an eclipsing binary, but it looked like there was a third body in the system that was transiting the components of the eclipsing binary. It turned out to be a background eclipsing binary on top of a foreground eclipsing binary.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 14th June 2010, 8:13 pm

Characteristics of Kepler Planetary Candidates Based on the First Data Set: The Majority are Found to be Neptune-Size and Smaller
http://arxiv.org/abs/1006.2799

Abstract wrote:In the spring of 2009 the Kepler Mission conducted high precision photometry on nearly 156,000 stars to detect the frequency and characteristics of small exoplanets. On 15 June 2010 the Kepler Mission released data on all but 400 of the ~156,000 planetary target stars to the public. At the time of this publication, 706 targets from this first data set have viable exoplanet candidates with sizes as small as that of the Earth to larger than that of Jupiter. Here we give the identity and characteristics of 306 of the 706 targets. The released targets include 5 candidate multi-planet systems. Data for the remaining 400 targets with planetary candidates will be released in February 2011. The Kepler results based on the candidates in the released list imply that most candidate planets have radii less than half that of Jupiter.



Five Kepler target stars that show multiple transiting exoplanet candidates
http://arxiv.org/abs/1006.2763

Abstract wrote:We present and discuss five candidate exoplanetary systems identified with the Kepler spacecraft. These five systems show transits from multiple exoplanet candidates. Should these objects prove to be planetary in nature, then these five systems open new opportunities for the field of exoplanets and provide new insights into the formation and dynamical evolution of planetary systems. We discuss the methods used to identify multiple transiting objects from the Kepler photometry as well as the false-positive rejection methods that have been applied to these data. One system shows transits from three distinct objects while the remaining four systems show transits from two objects. Three systems have planet candidates that are near mean motion commensurabilities - two near 2:1 and one just outside 5:2. We discuss the implications that multitransiting systems have on the distribution of orbital inclinations in planetary systems, and hence their dynamical histories; as well as their likely masses and chemical compositions. A Monte Carlo study indicates that, with additional data, most of these systems should exhibit detectable transit timing variations (TTV) due to gravitational interactions - though none are apparent in these data. We also discuss new challenges that arise in TTV analyses due to the presence of more than two planets in a system.



No joke. They tell us star names, radii and periods of the candidates.

I'll be greatly amused if the EPE updates with all these candidates.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Ancalites on 14th June 2010, 9:37 pm

"I'll be greatly amused if the EPE updates with all these candidates."

No doubt they've been preparing for this for a long time.

Still ....

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 14th June 2010, 10:00 pm

Ancalites wrote:No doubt they've been preparing for this for a long time.
That most certainly includes getting a bigger server

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Borislav on 15th June 2010, 2:06 am

Planetary Waterfalls

Reviewed the table of candidates.

The smallest candidate - 1.6 radius of the Earth
Largest candidate - 3.43 Jupiter radius
The lowest period - 0,839 days
The greatest period of 206,789 days (is the value 10389.109, but it seems wrong)

There are a few red dwarfs with radii of 0,359 to 0.5 solar radii.

In the general impression that the published 300 candidates out of 700 already detected fotometry the largest in size. A closed until February 2011 of 400 candidates for the size of Earth or around red dwarfs.

Of the 4 promised publication in June of Kepler's has been left alone, about the ground-based testing of candidates in the planets.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Borislav on 15th June 2010, 2:22 am

In addition, the main feature noticed only now.
The brightness of stars from 13.9 to 16.0 magnitudes. So this is really the most unpromising candidates for whom confirmation of ground heavily.
But the most delicious candidate, just a brighter stars.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Lazarus on 15th June 2010, 1:34 pm

Be interesting to see what the ratio of planets to false positives actually is, and whether the false-positives vetting process has significantly improved since the SWEEPS survey.
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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Borislav on 15th June 2010, 2:10 pm

An examination of Figures 6 and 8 shows that the measured occurrence frequencies of candidates planets are somewhat dependent on the size of the candidates. Super Earth-size candidates have a frequency of about 2.3x10-3 for brighter stars (14.0 < Keplermag <15) while Neptune-size candidates have a lower frequency of 1.3x10-3 for such stars. Jovian-size candidates have an even lower frequency of about 0.9x10-3 independent of stellar magnitude.

The frequency of hot Jupiters derived Kepler close to other studies (1 transit hot Jupiter on 1000 yellow dwarf). So obviously false candidates not so much.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 15th June 2010, 2:16 pm

IIRC, Keck and ELODIE surveys revealed 1% of sun-like stars have a hot Jupiter. If the probability of transit is about 10% for short period planets, then that would imply right around 1 hot Jupiter in 1,000 stars should be detected. (though of course the periods of the candidates go out to 40+ days so the probability of transit for these is much lower).

I wouldn't be surprised if some of these 2+ RJ candidates turn out to be false positives. On the other hand, as the paper suggests, such huge radii could be explained by underestimates of the stellar radii.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Borislav on 16th June 2010, 4:11 am

Borislav wrote:The greatest period of 206,789 days (is the value 10389.109, but it seems wrong)

This is not a mistake.

The duration must also be consistent with the orbital period, estimated stellar mass and
Kepler's laws, assuming a small eccentricity.

At least three transits must be observed. This test confirms the orbital period and avoids confusion for the circumstance when two planets of similar size are detected. (For
completeness of the released candidate list we included candidates with a single transit
event.)

We look forward to the next transit in 2040?

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by exofever on 16th June 2010, 5:58 am

Perhaps an extended mission for hubble, spitzer or kepler would be to stare at this star for the next 30 years...

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 16th June 2010, 11:47 am

Borislav wrote:
Borislav wrote:The greatest period of 206,789 days (is the value 10389.109, but it seems wrong)

This is not a mistake.

How is that?
How could they get the orbital period from a single transit?

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by lodp on 16th June 2010, 12:22 pm

The assumptions used are in the paper that lists the candidates, based on estimated size, period of transit, assuming zero eccentricity etc.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Borislav on 16th June 2010, 12:42 pm

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/60302/title/Kepler_craft_reports_apparent_planetary_bonanza
http://oklo.org/
Most of the planets have surface temperatures of order 1000K or more, but thereís one rather singular object in the list, a 1.34 Rjup candidate on a 10389.109(!)-day orbit about a 9.058 solar radius G-type giant that (if itís a planet) would have a photospheric temperature of order 180K. Certainly, a 1.34 Rjup radius is intriguing for such an object, as any non-pathological cold giant planet should be the size of Jupiter or smaller. Presumably, if the light curve showed evidence of a Saturn-style ring system, or better yet, an Earth-sized satellite, then KIC11465813 would chilliní in the V.I.P. room.

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Re: Kepler News and Results

Post by Lazarus on 16th June 2010, 1:46 pm

exofever wrote:Perhaps an extended mission for hubble, spitzer or kepler would be to stare at this star for the next 30 years...
Probably more useful to take RV measurements. At least you'd see something during the out-of-transit times...
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Re: Kepler News and Results

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