Author Topic: NASA - Kepler updates  (Read 162552 times)

Offline AJA

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #300 on: 11/30/2013 09:11 PM »
2 wheels have failed already. No reason to think the remaining ones are 'magic wheels' or anything. One more and its all over.


You should watch the start of Steve Howell's talk.  :D

Online Chris Bergin

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #301 on: 12/06/2013 03:52 PM »
Aliens you say! Probably a good idea for another thread, so long as it doesn't turn into "And they've been here and abducted my uncle". ;)

Offline edlassoto

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #302 on: 12/06/2013 04:58 PM »
Here is a new article on Kepler, Webb and solar occlusion.

http://news.yahoo.com/scientists-congress-technology-alien-life-110944636.html

Online jacqmans

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #303 on: 02/04/2014 07:09 PM »

February 4, 2014
RELEASE 14-041


Kepler Finds a Very Wobbly Planet
 

Imagine living on a planet with seasons so erratic you would hardly know whether to wear Bermuda shorts or a heavy overcoat. That is the situation on a weird, wobbly world found by NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space telescope.

The planet, designated Kepler-413b, precesses, or wobbles, wildly on its spin axis, much like a child's top. The tilt of the planet's spin axis can vary by as much as 30 degrees over 11 years, leading to rapid and erratic changes in seasons. In contrast, Earth's rotational precession is 23.5 degrees over 26,000 years. Researchers are amazed that this far-off planet is precessing on a human timescale.

Kepler 413-b is located 2,300 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. It circles a close pair of orange and red dwarf stars every 66 days. The planet's orbit around the binary stars appears to wobble, too, because the plane of its orbit is tilted 2.5 degrees with respect to the plane of the star pair's orbit. As seen from Earth, the wobbling orbit moves up and down continuously.

Kepler finds planets by noticing the dimming of a star or stars when a planet transits, or travels in front of them. Normally, planets transit like clockwork. Astronomers using Kepler discovered the wobbling when they found an unusual pattern of transiting for Kepler-413b.

"Looking at the Kepler data over the course of 1,500 days, we saw three transits in the first 180 days -- one transit every 66 days -- then we had 800 days with no transits at all. After that, we saw five more transits in a row," said Veselin Kostov, the principal investigator on the observation. Kostov is affiliated with the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. The next transit visible from Earth's point of view is not predicted to occur until 2020. This is because the orbit moves up and down, a result of the wobbling, in such a great degree that it sometimes does not transit the stars as viewed from Earth.

Astronomers are still trying to explain why this planet is out of alignment with its stars. There could be other planetary bodies in the system that tilted the orbit. Or, it could be that a third star nearby that is a visual companion may actually be gravitationally bound to the system and exerting an influence.

"Presumably there are planets out there like this one that we're not seeing because we're in the unfavorable period," said Peter McCullough, a team member with the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University. "And that's one of the things that Veselin is researching: Is there a silent majority of things that we're not seeing?"

Even with its changing seasons, Kepler-413b is too warm for life as we know it. Because it orbits so close to the stars, its temperatures are too high for liquid water to exist, making it inhabitable. It also is a super Neptune -- a giant gas planet with a mass about 65 times that of Earth -- so there is no surface on which to stand.

NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., is responsible for the Kepler mission concept, ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & 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 in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA's 10th Discovery mission and was funded by the agency's Science Mission Directorate.

For images and more information about Kepler-413b, visit:

http://hubblesite.org/news/2014/12

For more information about the Kepler space telescope, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler

Offline Targeteer

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #304 on: 02/07/2014 03:06 PM »
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24857-nasas-revived-exoplanethunter-sees-its-first-world.html#.UvRTq_vTr6M

NASA's revived exoplanet-hunter sees its first world

It's alive! After suffering a critical injury last year, NASA's Kepler space telescope has just observed an exoplanet for the first time in months. The Jupiter-sized world is not a new discovery it was found by another telescope but spotting it again with Kepler is solid evidence that, following a few modifications, the famed planet-hunter is ready to get back to work.
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Targeteer

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #305 on: 02/09/2014 10:30 PM »
Facebook post

Kepler Mission
Lots of interest in K2. We received 126 observing proposals containing 110,000 potential targets for our first science campaign starting in March!
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #306 on: 02/10/2014 09:58 AM »
Quote
The Kepler Team will get this year's top honors: the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy. In its search for alien worlds, the Kepler space telescope "has revolutionized exoplanet science and stellar astrophysics." Kepler data has allowed scientists detect more than 3,500 planet candidates outside of our solar system. Though the spacecraft, which launched in 2009, is now hobbled after a mechanical failure in May, NASA officials are weighing a new modified mission for Kepler.

http://www.space.com/24590-national-space-club-award-winners.html

Offline Bubbinski

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #307 on: 02/15/2014 01:58 AM »
According to Dr. Abel Mendez, Kepler has found 7 earth size (and 1 subterran) planet candidates in the habitable zone! 

http://phl.upr.edu/projects/habitable-exoplanets-catalog - on the main page and on the periodic table of exoplanets found deeper into the site.
« Last Edit: 02/15/2014 02:10 AM by Bubbinski »
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #308 on: 02/15/2014 09:39 AM »
More details of them are in the 2nd table here: http://phl.upr.edu/projects/habitable-exoplanets-catalog/data

And a summary:

KOIKIDClassPeriodRadiusMassTs (K)ESI
5123.015091808G288.91.091.282990.93
5927.0111654039G436.41.241.832810.91
3284.016497146K 35.20.930.813050.90
5210.015942112G126.01.241.833210.81
5545.018570210G541.11.051.152410.72
5387.017416016K297.81.251.871960.60
0571.058120608K129.91.021.062140.57

BTW, these will be very hard to confirm, requiring a radial velocity precision of around ~10cm/s to ~30cm/s depending on stellar and planetary mass.  While this is the target for ESPRESSO at the VLT, it can't see the Kepler field.

--- Tony
« Last Edit: 02/15/2014 09:44 AM by jebbo »

Offline Bubbinski

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #309 on: 02/21/2014 06:20 PM »
Just in:

http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/nasa-hosts-media-teleconference-to-announce-latest-kepler-discoveries/

News teleconference at 1 pm Eastern next Wednesday (2/26).  One of the participants is a research scientist at the SETI Institute.  Looking forward to this!
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline hop

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #310 on: 02/21/2014 07:50 PM »
One of the participants is a research scientist at the SETI Institute.  Looking forward to this!
Before people get too excited, that's just his institutional affiliation, this does not mean there's anything SETI related beyond the obvious connection to exo-planets. Dr Rowe is a member of the Kepler science office.

Offline Bubbinski

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #311 on: 02/21/2014 09:26 PM »
Thanks for the link and info.  I get what you're saying, but I'm hoping they'll have another habitable zone discovery or two to announce, even if not I'm still looking forward to this announcement as I find exoplanets fascinating.
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #312 on: 02/21/2014 10:24 PM »
Thanks for the link and info.  I get what you're saying, but I'm hoping they'll have another habitable zone discovery or two to announce, even if not I'm still looking forward to this announcement as I find exoplanets fascinating.
One of the many folk working on Kepler, Dr. Steve Kawaler, is giving a talk soon at my University on the search for extraterrestrial life. If any of you have burning questions regarding the topic (i.e. exoplanet related), let me know and I should have no problem asking him. I may go out to eat with him later.
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Offline scienceguy

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #313 on: 02/22/2014 02:24 AM »
Thanks for the link and info.  I get what you're saying, but I'm hoping they'll have another habitable zone discovery or two to announce, even if not I'm still looking forward to this announcement as I find exoplanets fascinating.
One of the many folk working on Kepler, Dr. Steve Kawaler, is giving a talk soon at my University on the search for extraterrestrial life. If any of you have burning questions regarding the topic (i.e. exoplanet related), let me know and I should have no problem asking him. I may go out to eat with him later.

Do they know the percentage of Earth-mass planets in 1 AU orbits around G-type stars?
e^(pi)i = -1

Offline jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #314 on: 02/22/2014 09:27 AM »
As a new batch of KOI has recently been released (bringing the numbers up beyond 5,900), I suspect the briefing will be about the radius / period distribution. 

So I expect an update on "eta-Earth", particularly as all 4 briefing participants are co-authors of papers in this area e.g. http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.4195.  I don't expect a lot of new mass (and hence density) data as I don't think there's been enough time for significant new RV follow-up since the last briefing (though the list of "protected targets" for HARPS-N is interesting http://www.tng.iac.es/instruments/harps/data/Kepler_GTO_Targets_aot29.txt and includes some I've been involved in :) ).

Given the KOI list now includes 7 candidates with radii between 0.9 and 1.25x that of Earth around G/K stars (see my post above), there might also be some discussion of the percentage of Earth-radius (not mass) planets in the habitable zone of sun-like stars.

EDIT: I should say I may be completely wrong and it may be more density results instead, though my bet is still on the overall radius / period distribution.


--- Tony
« Last Edit: 02/22/2014 09:35 AM by jebbo »

Offline jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #315 on: 02/26/2014 01:56 PM »
Interesting Tweet from @ProfAbelMendez:

"Yay! RT @PlanetaryHabLab: NEXT WEEK: New results will be presented in the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog"

Suggest there might be some new confirmations in today's press conference.

EDIT: there are 715 new confirmations!  Using new confirmation method (multiplicity)
EDIT2: added the two science papers.
EDIT3: boy was I wrong in my previous post :-)

--- Tony
« Last Edit: 02/26/2014 05:56 PM by jebbo »

Online jacqmans

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #316 on: 02/26/2014 06:49 PM »
February 26, 2014
RELEASE 14-059


NASA's Kepler Mission Announces a Planet Bonanza, 715 New Worlds


NASA's Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.

Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.

"The Kepler team continues to amaze and excite us with their planet hunting results," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "That these new planets and solar systems look somewhat like our own, portends a great future when we have the James Webb Space Telescope in space to characterize the new worlds.

Since the discovery of the first planets outside our solar system roughly two decades ago, verification has been a laborious planet-by-planet process. Now, scientists have a statistical technique that can be applied to many planets at once when they are found in systems that harbor more than one planet around the same star.

To verify this bounty of planets, a research team co-led by Jack Lissauer, planetary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., analyzed stars with more than one potential planet, all of which were detected in the first two years of Kepler's observations -- May 2009 to March 2011.

The research team used a technique called verification by multiplicity, which relies in part on the logic of probability. Kepler observes 150,000 stars, and has found a few thousand of those to have planet candidates. If the candidates were randomly distributed among Kepler's stars, only a handful would have more than one planet candidate. However, Kepler observed hundreds of stars that have multiple planet candidates. Through a careful study of this sample, these 715 new planets were verified.

This method can be likened to the behavior we know of lions and lionesses. In our imaginary savannah, the lions are the Kepler stars and the lionesses are the planet candidates. The lionesses would sometimes be observed grouped together whereas lions tend to roam on their own. If you see two lions it could be a lion and a lioness or it could be two lions. But if more than two large felines are gathered, then it is very likely to be a lion and his pride. Thus, through multiplicity the lioness can be reliably identified in much the same way multiple planet candidates can be found around the same star.

"Four years ago, Kepler began a string of announcements of first hundreds, then thousands, of planet candidates --but they were only candidate worlds," said Lissauer. "We've now developed a process to verify multiple planet candidates in bulk to deliver planets wholesale, and have used it to unveil a veritable bonanza of new worlds."

These multiple-planet systems are fertile grounds for studying individual planets and the configuration of planetary neighborhoods. This provides clues to planet formation.

Four of these new planets are less than 2.5 times the size of Earth and orbit in their sun's habitable zone, defined as the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet may be suitable for life-giving liquid water.

One of these new habitable zone planets, called Kepler-296f, orbits a star half the size and 5 percent as bright as our sun. Kepler-296f is twice the size of Earth, but scientists do not know whether the planet is a gaseous world, with a thick hydrogen-helium envelope, or it is a water world surrounded by a deep ocean.

"From this study we learn planets in these multi-systems are small and their orbits are flat and circular -- resembling pancakes -- not your classical view of an atom," said Jason Rowe, research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., and co-leader of the research. "The more we explore the more we find familiar traces of ourselves amongst the stars that remind us of home."

This latest discovery brings the confirmed count of planets outside our solar system to nearly 1,700. As we continue to reach toward the stars, each discovery brings us one step closer to a more accurate understanding of our place in the galaxy.

Launched in March 2009, Kepler is the first NASA mission to find potentially habitable Earth-size planets. Discoveries include more than 3,600 planet candidates, of which 961 have been verified as bona-fide worlds.

The findings papers will be published March 10 in The Astrophysical Journal and are available for download at:

http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/digital-press-kit-kepler-planet-bonanza

Ames is responsible for the Kepler mission concept, ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & 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 in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA's 10th Discovery Mission and was funded by the agency's Science Mission Directorate.

For more information about the Kepler space telescope, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler


Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #317 on: 02/26/2014 07:23 PM »
What's interesting is that most of solar systems discovered so far don't look like ours with the planets widely spaced out, instead with these the planets seem to be stacked closer together near their stars. I wonder if this could effect the chances of extraterrestrial life arising?

Offline jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #318 on: 02/26/2014 07:37 PM »
We don't really know yet how common systems like ours are - current detection methods are biased towards larger planets and shorter period orbits. It will take longer to find systems like ours ... e.g. data from GAIA should find a bunch of "cold Jupiters"

--- Tony
« Last Edit: 02/26/2014 07:38 PM by jebbo »

Offline baldusi

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #319 on: 02/26/2014 07:50 PM »
What's interesting is that most of solar systems discovered so far don't look like ours with the planets widely spaced out, instead with these the planets seem to be stacked closer together near their stars. I wonder if this could effect the chances of extraterrestrial life arising?
It's called selectio bias. I don't believe Kepler could detect Earth and Mars. And Venus is difficult. Kepler mission lasted what, four years? That's 3 to 4 dips for Earth. Longer orbits simply can't be detected with this mission length.
And our dip would be small, since we are so small compared to our Sun. I don't know what's the noise level of the sensor. But have some variability on the star and Earth will be below the sample random error.
And it can only see it if the orbital planes passes right in front of the star from our point of view. So the bigger the orbital radius of the exoplanet (wrt the star diameter) the less chance that we'll se the light dip.
So, Kepler simply can see most orbital planes, can't see exoplanets on variable stars, can't see planets too small for the star and didn't lasted enough to get more data points.
The result is that it what you see is not the universe average, but only the telescope limited average. It does allows for some level of extrapolation. But in general you have to consider Kepler as good for finding what it sees, but you can't discard that there are more planets, even on those stars.
Of course other observation methods can complement and discover or discard many more planets.

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