Author Topic: NASA - Kepler updates  (Read 165310 times)

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #20 on: 11/09/2009 10:51 PM »
The currently envisioned path forward, as I understand it, is for Kepler to locate earth-sized planets, or at least candidates. At the very least, candidates could be studied by Hubble, Keck, Spitzer, etc to confirm the observations. Then down the road a larger mission would be built to conduct more detailed study of those planets. The Terrestrial Planet Finder and the Space Interferometry Mission are two candidates.

So I wouldn't call Kepler a technology demonstrator (transits have already been demonstrated, although not in such a wide field), but rather a precursor mission to more serious study.
« Last Edit: 11/09/2009 10:52 PM by iamlucky13 »

Offline hop

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #21 on: 11/09/2009 11:03 PM »
But to be fair no one knows if this technique will really work to find Earth-like planets in habitable zone
Really ? My understanding is that the parameters of Kepler were very carefully selected to have an extremely high confidence of detecting earth like planets if they are there. Of course, there is always some uncertainty, but it would be a very big surprise (and a serious failure of the design process) if transits of earth like planets simply couldn't be detected.
Quote
and no one will know how often they exist until this experiment is complete.
This is true, it's the main point of the experiment.
The currently envisioned path forward, as I understand it, is for Kepler to locate earth-sized planets, or at least candidates. At the very least, candidates could be studied by Hubble, Keck, Spitzer, etc to confirm the observations.
Actually, the Kepler stars are quite hard to follow up on with other methods. To get enough stars in the field of view, they have to be far away. This is OK for transits, but makes most other techniques more difficult. So Kepler will give us an idea of how common such planets are, but we will have to find them closer to home to do much detailed study.

Offline marsavian

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #22 on: 12/31/2009 09:58 PM »
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/news/releases/2009/M09-160.html

MEDIA ADVISORY : M09-160  NASA to Unveil Kepler Space Telescope Discoveries   MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – Kepler Mission scientists will reveal the space telescope’s latest discoveries at a news briefing in Washington on Monday, Jan. 4, 2010.

The announcement will be made at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST) at a news conference during the 215th national meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel.

News media may participate remotely via a live audio conference call by calling 202-745-2193. A live Web feed of the speakers' slides will be available during the presentation by visiting http://www.showmaestro.com/press. In order to view the slidecast, you must have QuickTime installed on your computer. To download a free copy, visit http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/.

NASA Ames will post the speakers' slides for downloading at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/multimedia/images/aas_conference.html once the briefing begins.

In addition, Jack Lissauer, planetary scientist on the Kepler science team, will be available for interviews at NASA Ames following the news briefing. Media interested in interviewing Lissauer should contact Rachel Prucey at 650-604-0643, 650-930-6149 or by emailing rachel.l.prucey@nasa.gov.

Although the news conference will not be broadcast live on NASA Television, Kepler video will be aired on NASA TV immediately following the news briefing on the media channel.

For NASA TV schedule information and to watch NASA TV online, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For more information about the Kepler mission on the Web, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler

Offline TheFallen

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #23 on: 01/01/2010 06:17 AM »
The Kepler website has been re-designed.  Lookin' pretty spiffy...

http://kepler.nasa.gov/

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #24 on: 01/02/2010 07:37 AM »
NASA to Unveil Kepler Space Telescope Discoveries

Sweet! Here's hoping for Kepler's first new discoveries.

It's theoretically too soon to find anything earth-like, of course, but I'm sure they must have spotted some hot-Jupiter's by now.

The new site looks very sharp.

Also, more stuff from the mission manager's updates page, including mentions of a safe event on Nov 18, 30 papers submitted for review, and a reference to 110 GB of data transmitted to the ground in a single month.
http://kepler.nasa.gov/Mission/mmupdates/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=9

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #25 on: 01/04/2010 06:29 PM »
Five new planets!

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/news/kepler-5-exoplanets.html

Rather than post the whole thing, here's some excepts:

Quote
Kepler's high sensitivity to both small and large planets enabled the discovery of the exoplanets, named Kepler 4b, 5b, 6b, 7b and 8b...

...They have orbits ranging from 3.3 to 4.9 days. Estimated temperatures of the planets range from 2,200 to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than molten lava and much too hot for life as we know it...

..."We expected Jupiter-size planets in short orbits to be the first planets Kepler could detect. It's only a matter of time before more Kepler observations lead to smaller planets with longer period orbits, coming closer and closer to the discovery of the first Earth analog."...

...Kepler's science instrument, or photometer, already has measured hundreds of possible planet signatures that are being analyzed.

Here's the briefing slides:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/multimedia/images/aas_conference.html

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #26 on: 01/04/2010 07:31 PM »
What are the closest stars in Kepler's field-of-view? Can any of them be followed up with other methods of exoplanet detection?
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Online jacqmans

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #27 on: 06/16/2010 06:02 AM »
RELEASE: 10-146

NASA RELEASES KEPLER DATA ON POTENTIAL EXTRASOLAR PLANETS

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA's Kepler Mission has released 43 days of
science data on more than 156,000 stars. These stars are being
monitored for subtle brightness changes as part of an ongoing search
for Earth-like planets outside of our solar system.

Astronomers will use the new data to determine if orbiting planets are
responsible for brightness variations in several hundred stars. These
stars make up a full range of temperatures, sizes and ages. Many of
them are stable, while others pulsate. Some show starspots, which are
similar to sunspots, and a few produce flares that would sterilize
their nearest planets.

Kepler, a space observatory, looks for the data signatures of planets
by measuring tiny decreases in the brightness of stars when planets
cross in front of, or transit them. The size of the planet can be
derived from the change in the star's brightness.

The 28-member Kepler science team also is using ground-based
telescopes and the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope
to perform follow-up observations on a specific set of 400 objects of
interest. The star field that Kepler observes in the constellations
Cygnus and Lyra can only be seen from ground-based observatories in
spring through early fall. The data from these other observations
will determine which of the candidates can be identified as planets.
That data will be released to the scientific community in February
2011.

Without the additional information, candidates that are actual planets
cannot be distinguished from false alarms, such as binary stars --
two stars that orbit each other. The size of the planetary candidates
also can be only approximated until the size of the stars they orbit
is determined from additional spectroscopic observations made by
ground-based telescopes.

"I look forward to the scientific community analyzing the data and
announcing new exoplanet results in the coming months," said Lia
LaPiana, Kepler's program executive at NASA Headquarters in
Washington.

"This is the most precise, nearly continuous, longest and largest data
set of stellar photometry ever," said Kepler Deputy Principal
Investigator David Koch of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett
Field, Calif. "The results will only get better as the duration of
the data set grows with time."

Kepler will continue conducting science operations until at least
November 2012, searching for planets as small as Earth, including
those that orbit stars in a warm habitable zone where liquid water
could exist on the surface of the planet. Since transits of planets
in the habitable zone of solar-like stars occur about once a year and
require three transits for verification, it is expected to take at
least three years to locate and verify an Earth-size planet.

"The Kepler observations will tell us whether there are many stars
with planets that could harbor life, or whether we might be alone in
our galaxy," said mission science principal investigator William
Borucki of Ames.

Ames is responsible for the ground system development, mission
operations and science data analysis. NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed the Kepler mission
development. Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo.,
developed the Kepler flight system, and supports mission operations
with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the
University of Colorado, Boulder. The Space Telescope Science
Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes the Kepler
science data.

To see the science data, visit:

http://archive.stsci.edu/kepler


For more information about the Kepler mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler


Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #28 on: 07/26/2010 03:18 AM »
« Last Edit: 07/26/2010 03:21 AM by yg1968 »

Offline Chandonn

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Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #30 on: 07/26/2010 02:39 PM »
Lots of earth-size planets have been found by Kepler:
http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/920

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2010/07/kepler-results.html#more

CANDIDATES!  Not earth-size planets confirmed:

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/kepler-earth-like-exoplanets-100722.html

You are right. But if you watch the presentation, he says that there is a lot more earth like candidates than Jupiter candidates. This is "earth-shattering" news in itself as it implies that Earth sized planets are very common.

There was also a paper on this published in June (see attached PDF):
http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1006/1006.2799v2.pdf

Quote
Characteristics of Kepler planetary candidates based on the first data set: the majority are found to be Neptune-size and smaller

Abstract. In the spring of 2009, the Kepler Mission commenced high-precision photometry on nearly 156,000 stars to determine the frequency and characteristics of small exoplanets, conduct a guest observer program, and obtain asteroseismic data on a wide variety of stars. On 15 June 2010 the Kepler Mission released data from the first quarter of observations. At the time of this publication, 706 stars from this first data set have exoplanet candidates with sizes from as small as that of the Earth to larger than that of Jupiter. Here we give the identity and characteristics of 306 released stars with planetary candidates. Data for the remaining 400 stars with planetary candidates will be released in February 2011. Over half the candidates on the released list have radii less than half that of Jupiter. The released stars include five possible multi-planet systems. One of these has two Neptune-size (2.3 and 2.5 Earth-radius) candidates with near-resonant periods.
« Last Edit: 07/27/2010 02:08 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Space Pete

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #31 on: 07/28/2010 04:00 PM »
Here's NASA's statement on the TED Talk.

Earth-size is not Earth-like: the TED Talk by Dimitar Sasselov.
Quote
Two weeks ago, I gave a talk at TED Global 2010 which was very well received, but caused confusion. I talked about Earth-like planets, which many people would equate to Earth-size and "habitable."

Earth-size and Earth-like is certainly not the same. Take the example of Venus, an Earth-size planet whose surface will melt lead. I understand that the term "Earth-like" was misleading to most of the media coverage. The Kepler mission is designed to discover Earth-size planets but it has not yet discovered any; at this time we have found only planet candidates.

The June 2010 Kepler data release with 306 candidates is an encouraging first step along the road to Kepler's ultimate goals, and specifically - the goal to determine the frequency of Earth-size planets in and near the habitable zone. However, these are candidates, not systems that have been verified sufficiently to be considered true planets. It will take more years of hard work to get to our goal, but we can do it.
www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/main/index.html

----------

NASA's Kepler Blog: "Planets large and small: the Kepler planetary candidates in my TED Talk".
http://blogs.nasa.gov/cm/blog/kepler/posts/post_1280268721769.html
« Last Edit: 07/28/2010 04:00 PM by Space Pete »
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Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #32 on: 07/30/2010 02:19 PM »

Offline Space Pete

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #33 on: 08/01/2010 09:58 PM »
An update:

NASA Watch: "NASA-Funded Apologist Blames Media for Kepler's Botched PR".
http://nasawatch.com/archives/2010/08/nasa-funded-apo.html
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Offline jcm

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #34 on: 08/01/2010 11:31 PM »
I think Keith is way over the top here, I mostly agree with Ray's article. I would defend Dimitar even more (disclaimer: he's a friend of mine). There is no formal definition of 'Earth-like', although I concede most of us would require some similarity of atmosphere as well as diameter. Nevertheless, I think what he said was totally fine, if not ideally phrased, and a lot of the fuss is because most science writers didn't read the papers that were published for all to see on astro-ph (http://arxiv.org/abs/1006.2799) on June 14, and thought Dimitar was saying something new. For NASA, the choice to not make a big song and dance about those papers and wait until they  have definite confirmation on some of the Earth-sized ones is arguable, but maybe fair enough. But those writing about astronomy should be reading astro-ph, not just NASA press releases. Sky and Telescope magazine, for instance (which I used to write for) has covered the papers in question.

So where are we? Of the 706 candidates, we cannot point to any particular one and say 'this is an Earth-sized planet'. Probably about a third of them are false positives and are really things like triple star systems (where two transits by far-out companion stars that happen to happen close together in time are confused with a close-in periodic planet) or grazing binary star transits (a small dip in the light because only a small bit of the second star hides the first). So you might worry that 99 percent of the 706 will turn out to be cases like that, and none of the candidates are real. You can predict that this is unlikely based on our (admittedly highly imperfect) knowledge of how common binaries and triple systems are, and on this basis we can now say with pretty good confidence that we've discovered that Earth-sized planets are more common than giant planets, even though we can't point you to any particular specific Earth-sized planet.

I think this is HUGE news and well worth getting excited about, and Dimitar and the Kepler team deserve our congratulations.
-----------------------------

Jonathan McDowell
http://planet4589.org

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #35 on: 08/04/2010 07:38 PM »
Debates about semantics like this have little value beyond the satisfaction some must feel at annoying people.

Saying "earth-like" was obviously confusing, but not inaccurate. Diameter and mass are properties that can be similar between planets, so to that end these candidates appear more like earth than all of the other extra-solar planets discovered to date.

But instead of a simple clarification like, "Exactly what did you mean by 'earth-like?" people are running around in circles blaming or defending Mr. Sasselov, the reporters who picked up on his presentation, and whoever else can be implicated.

People need to calm down and take this for what it is: an informal announcement that Kepler seems to be doing exactly what it was intended to do and generating a healthy list of planet candidates.

Online jacqmans

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #36 on: 08/23/2010 06:22 PM »
MEDIA ADVISORY: M10-120

NASA TO ANNOUNCE LATEST FINDINGS BY KEPLER SPACECRAFT

WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a media teleconference Thursday, Aug. 26,
at 1 p.m. EDT to discuss the Kepler spacecraft's latest discovery
about an intriguing planetary system.

Kepler, a space observatory, looks for the data signatures of planets
by measuring tiny decreases in the brightness of stars when planets
cross in front of, or transit, them. In June, mission scientists
announced the mission has identified more than 700 planet candidates,
including five candidate systems that appear to have more than one
transiting planet.

Participating telecon panelists are:
-- Jon Morse, director, Science Mission Directorate Astrophysics
Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington
-- William Borucki, Kepler Mission science principal investigator,
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
-- Matthew Holman, associate director, Theoretical Astrophysics
Division, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge,
Mass.
-- Alycia Weinberger, astronomer, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism,
Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington

To participate in the teleconference, reporters should e-mail J.D.
Harrington at j.d.harrington@nasa.gov by 11 a.m. EDT, Thursday, Aug.
26. Journalists must include their name, media affiliation and
telephone number. Supporting information for the briefing will be
posted at: http://www.nasa.gov/kepler when the telecon begins.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:
http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio


-end-


Offline K-P

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #37 on: 08/24/2010 11:58 AM »

Offline rdale

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #38 on: 08/24/2010 12:03 PM »
Well, the paper was published a few weeks ago so anyone watching knew even earlier :)

http://www.eso.org/public/archives/releases/sciencepapers/eso1035/eso1035.pdf

Offline Bubbinski

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #39 on: 08/25/2010 04:31 AM »
If I'm understanding that paper right, these planets were discovered by an instrument in the European observatory in Chile....is this Kepler announcement a followup to this discovery (using Kepler observations to confirm the findings?) or is this NASA press release a separate announcement of a system found elsewhere?

Edit with further thoughts: The Kepler spacecraft observes a spot of space in Cygnus and the star in the European announcement is very far south, close to the south celestial pole.  So Kepler wouldn't be able to follow up on that star.  Also, it's very interesting that one of the scientists mentioned in the press release studies terrestrial magnetism......I'm waiting for Thursday!
« Last Edit: 08/25/2010 04:40 AM by Bubbinski »
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Tags: updates