Author Topic: NASA - Kepler updates  (Read 171482 times)

Online hop

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #360 on: 04/18/2014 09:17 PM »
Planet masses can sometimes be deduced via transit timing variations, but again, it works best for tightly packed systems, i.e. the inner planets of Kepler 186.
One interesting point from the paper is that it is quite possible that there is a planet between e and f. An additional planet actually made their system formation models work better, and they found such a planet could plausible be inclined enough not to transit.

If it does exist, they put it around ~0.2 AU, which would be right around the inner edge of the habitable zone.

Regarding the mass, the preprint (http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.4368v1) says
Quote
The planets' masses have not been constrained with radial velocity or transit timing measurements (Quintana et al. 2014). Table 3 shows the range of plausible planetary masses assuming a range of compositions: 100% ice, 50% ice/ 50% rock, Earth-like composition, and 100% iron (following Fortney et al. 2007).
Table 3 gives planet f about 1.5 Mearth if it has an Earth-like composition.

edited to clarify we don't know what the composition actually is. Also, the pre-print I linked above is not the the main paper describing the discovery, although some of the same authors are involved. The discovery paper is http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6181/277.abstract (pay-walled, and not on arixiv as far as I can tell)
« Last Edit: 04/21/2014 06:36 AM by hop »

Offline AJA

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #361 on: 04/18/2014 11:03 PM »

I googled the following after reading Phil Plait's blogpost on 186f.

Constraining exoplanet mass from transmission spectroscopy - MIT EAPS
(Author's version of a 66 page PDF paper)


Here's a popular science version.


Planetary mass - through gravity - affects the pressure profile of the atmosphere (which, is related to the temperature, and hence the spectra). The radiative forcing of the atmosphere due to planetary cooling also depends on mass of the planet (thermal conductivity, density etc.).

Offline mdatb

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #362 on: 04/20/2014 09:34 PM »
Table 3 gives planet f about 1.5 Mearth with an Earth-like composition.
:o

Must be Kepler's biggest find.


Online jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #363 on: 04/22/2014 10:25 AM »
One interesting point from the paper is that it is quite possible that there is a planet between e and f. An additional planet actually made their system formation models work better, and they found such a planet could plausible be inclined enough not to transit.

If it does exist, they put it around ~0.2 AU, which would be right around the inner edge of the habitable zone.

Any planets in the gap might even transit if they are small enough.  It's hard enough to discern the transits of Kepler-186f, given the S/N ratio:

http://i1160.photobucket.com/albums/q490/Tony_Jebson/koi-57105_zps99fb919a.jpg

... so it is entirely feasible there are transits lost in the noise.

On mass, f is smaller than 1.5x Re so almost certainly "rocky" but that covers a multitude of sins.  It is also very unclear whether there would be any water.  This depends on the formation model, and (from memory) there are some hints that water deliver for these compact systems is less likely than for sun-like stars.

It is unclear how old the star is: most likely it is 4Gyr or older - which means f is likely to be tidally locked.  Not sure what this means for habitability - the paper cited by hop only used a 1D climate model and this required high partial pressures of CO2 and N2 to make liquid water feasible.  Locking *might* lower the pressures required for the (permanent) day side but I'd guess at least 2D modelling would be required.

On transmission spectroscopy, the star is too far away and too dim for us to do this.  To date, this has only been done for very short period hot Jupiters.

Anyway, and exciting find.  I'm looking forward to what K2, TESS and Plato will find!

--- Tony
« Last Edit: 04/22/2014 10:27 AM by jebbo »

Offline stichtom

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #364 on: 04/22/2014 03:47 PM »
Hi, i'm doing a research on the Kepler telescope and i need to find how it communicates with Earth and what protocols it uses. Does anyone know?

Thanks
« Last Edit: 04/22/2014 03:47 PM by stichtom »

Offline SaxtonHale

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« Last Edit: 04/22/2014 05:54 PM by SaxtonHale »

Online hop

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #366 on: 04/24/2014 02:56 AM »
The Kepler-186f Science paper is now on arXiv http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.5667

Online jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #367 on: 05/16/2014 11:06 AM »
The NASA response to the senior review is now out.

Good news: The K2 mission has been approved

Kepler Space Telescope
 
The Kepler mission extension is approved for FY 2015-FY 2016 for K2 operations at a 10-
percent reduction from the requested level; the full request cannot be accommodated within the
constrained budget conditions. Additional funding will be provided for closeout of prime mission
at a level to be determined through the budget formulation process supplemented by the closeout
proposal review. Guidelines provided for FY 2017-FY 2018, including completion of both K2
and closeout in FY 2017, will be revisited in Senior Review 2016. The Astrophysics Division is
providing the Case II recommendation in the Senior Review report; the full recommendation
cannot be accommodated within the constrained budget conditions. The Kepler mission will be
invited to the 2016 Astrophysics Senior Review for consideration of the third year of the K2
extension.

See http://science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2014/05/15/NASA_Response_to_2014_Senior_Review_for_Operating_Missions_FINAL3.pdf

Offline DMeader

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #368 on: 05/16/2014 07:51 PM »
NASA image shows how Kepler will be managed in the K2 campaigns. Very clever.  http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/k2_explained_25nov_story_2.jpg

Offline Bubbinski

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #369 on: 06/04/2014 01:28 AM »
A new "mega-earth" was just found from Kepler data. Kepler-10c is 2.3x the size of earth but 17x more massive. A solid, rocky world as massive as Neptune. Very intriguing and a problem for planet formation theories.

http://news.discovery.com/space/alien-life-exoplanets/strange-new-world-discovered-the-mega-earth-140602.htm
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #370 on: 06/04/2014 07:01 AM »
Article on the start of the K2 campaign, interesting that Neptune will be one of its targets, what are they looking for there, small moons?

Quote
Each of the nine fields planned for study in the next two years are in the zodiacal constellations and contain between 10,000 and 20,000 stars for observations by Kepler's telescope. The K2 mission's 100,000 targets also include the very bright cores of galaxies, supernovae, asteroids and Neptune, plus aging stars identified as candidates for research into the convective processes inside stars, a field known as astroseismology.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1406/03kepler/

Offline Star One

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NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #371 on: 08/16/2014 09:39 PM »
This seems most appropriate in this thread.

NASA/Library of Congress Astrobiology Symposium - Preparing for Discovery

Quote
Astrobiology has revealed new discoveries about our world and the solar system. Living organisms thrive in harsher environments on Earth than we ever previously imagined. Microbial biodiversity and extremophile life are now known to be ubiquitous and abundant. Beyond Earth, science has identified more than 1,400 exoplanets. That life thrives in multifarious conditions, coupled with these potentially habitable exoplanets and the detection of life-giving elements on numerous moons on asteroids, means we must face the possibility that simple or complex organisms may be discovered beyond Earth. How might we prepare for such a discovery? Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology Steven J. Dick convenes scientists, historians, philosophers and theologians from around the world for a two-day symposium at the Library of Congress to explore how we prepare to face new knowledge that may challenge our very conceptions of life and our place in the universe.

http://www.loc.gov/loc/kluge/news/nasa-program-2014.html
« Last Edit: 08/17/2014 08:42 PM by Star One »

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #372 on: 11/11/2014 05:18 PM »

Online Targeteer

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Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Online Targeteer

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #374 on: 12/18/2014 06:21 PM »
http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/december/nasa-s-kepler-reborn-makes-first-exoplanet-find-of-new-mission/#.VJMoqSdTCC0

NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft makes a comeback with the discovery of the first exoplanet found using its new mission -- K2.

The discovery was made when astronomers and engineers devised an ingenious way to repurpose Kepler for the K2 mission and continue its search of the cosmos for other worlds.

"Last summer, the possibility of a scientifically productive mission for Kepler after its reaction wheel failure in its extended mission was not part of the conversation," said Paul Hertz, NASA's astrophysics division director at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "Today, thanks to an innovative idea and lots of hard work by the NASA and Ball Aerospace team, Kepler may well deliver the first candidates for follow-up study by the James Webb Space Telescope to characterize the atmospheres of distant worlds and search for signatures of life."

Lead researcher Andrew Vanderburg, a graduate student at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, studied publicly available data collected by the spacecraft during a test of K2 in February 2014. The discovery was confirmed with measurements taken by the HARPS-North spectrograph of the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo in the Canary Islands, which captured the wobble of the star caused by the planet’s gravitational tug as it orbits.

The newly confirmed planet, HIP 116454b, is 2.5 times the diameter of Earth and follows a close, nine-day orbit around a star that is smaller and cooler than our sun, making the planet too hot for life as we know it. HIP 116454b and its star are 180 light-years from Earth, toward the constellation Pisces.

Kepler’s onboard camera detects planets by looking for transits -- when a distant star dims slightly as a planet crosses in front of it. The smaller the planet, the weaker the dimming, so brightness measurements must be exquisitely precise. To enable that precision, the spacecraft must maintain steady pointing. In May 2013, data collection during Kepler's extended prime mission came to an end with the failure of the second of four reaction wheels, which are used to stabilize the spacecraft.

Rather than giving up on the stalwart spacecraft, a team of scientists and engineers crafted a resourceful strategy to use pressure from sunlight as a “virtual reaction wheel” to help control the spacecraft. The resulting K2 mission promises to not only continue Kepler’s planet hunt, but also to expand the search to bright nearby stars that harbor planets that can be studied in detail and better understand their composition. K2 also will introduce new opportunities to observe star clusters, active galaxies and supernovae.

Small planets like HIP 116454b, orbiting nearby bright stars, are a scientific sweet spot for K2 as they are good prospects for follow-up ground studies to obtain mass measurements. Using K2’s size measurements and ground-based mass measurements, astronomers can calculate the density of a planet to determine whether it is likely a rocky, watery or gaseous world.

"The Kepler mission showed us that planets larger in size than Earth and smaller than Neptune are common in the galaxy, yet they are absent in our solar system," said Steve Howell, Kepler/K2 project scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. "K2 is uniquely positioned to dramatically refine our understanding of these alien worlds and further define the boundary between rocky worlds like Earth and ice giants like Neptune."

Since the K2 mission officially began in May 2014, it has observed more than 35,000 stars and collected data on star clusters, dense star-forming regions, and several planetary objects within our own solar system. It is currently in its third campaign.

The research paper reporting this discovery has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

Ames is responsible for Kepler's mission concept, ground system development, science data analysis and K2 mission operations. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colorado, 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 in Washington.

For more information about the Kepler mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Online jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #375 on: 12/19/2014 05:33 PM »
The corresponding paper is here:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.5674

Best thing about K2 discoveries will be that they are around bright stars and susceptible to ground based follow up

--- Tony

Offline Star One

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NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #376 on: 01/06/2015 05:37 PM »
NASA’s Kepler Marks 1,000th Exoplanet Discovery, Uncovers More Small Worlds in Habitable Zones

NASA Kepler's Hall of Fame: Of the more than 1,000 verified planets found by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, eight are less than twice Earth-size and in their stars' habitable zone. All eight orbit stars cooler and smaller than our sun. The search continues for Earth-size habitable zone worlds around sun-like stars.
How many stars like our sun host planets like our Earth? NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope continuously monitored more than 150,000 stars beyond our solar system, and to date has offered scientists an assortment of more than 4,000 candidate planets for further study -- the 1,000th of which was recently verified.
Using Kepler data, scientists reached this millenary milestone after validating that eight more candidates spotted by the planet-hunting telescope are, in fact, planets. The Kepler team also has added another 554 candidates to the roll of potential planets, six of which are near-Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of stars similar to our sun.
Three of the newly-validated planets are located in their distant suns’ habitable zone, the range of distances from the host star where liquid water might exist on the surface of an orbiting planet. Of the three, two are likely made of rock, like Earth.
"Each result from the planet-hunting Kepler mission's treasure trove of data takes us another step closer to answering the question of whether we are alone in the Universe," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “The Kepler team and its science community continue to produce impressive results with the data from this venerable explorer."
To determine whether a planet is made of rock, water or gas, scientists must know its size and mass. When its mass can’t be directly determined, scientists can infer what the planet is made of based on its size.
Two of the newly validated planets, Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b, are less than 1.5 times the diameter of Earth. Kepler-438b, 475 light-years away, is 12 percent bigger than Earth and orbits its star once every 35.2 days. Kepler-442b, 1,100 light-years away, is 33 percent bigger than Earth and orbits its star once every 112 days.
Both Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b orbit stars smaller and cooler than our sun, making the habitable zone closer to their parent star, in the direction of the constellation Lyra. The research paper reporting this finding has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.
"With each new discovery of these small, possibly rocky worlds, our confidence strengthens in the determination of the true frequency of planets like Earth," said co-author Doug Caldwell, SETI Institute Kepler scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California. "The day is on the horizon when we’ll know how common temperate, rocky planets like Earth are.”
With the detection of 554 more planet candidates from Kepler observations conducted May 2009 to April 2013, the Kepler team has raised the candidate count to 4,175. Eight of these new candidates are between one to two times the size of Earth, and orbit in their sun's habitable zone. Of these eight, six orbit stars that are similar to our sun in size and temperature. All candidates require follow-up observations and analysis to verify they are actual planets.
“Kepler collected data for four years -- long enough that we can now tease out the Earth-size candidates in one Earth-year orbits”, said Fergal Mullally, SETI Institute Kepler scientist at Ames who led the analysis of a new candidate catalog. “We’re closer than we’ve ever been to finding Earth twins around other sun-like stars. These are the planets we’re looking for”.
These findings also have been submitted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement.
Work is underway to translate these recent discoveries into estimates of how often rocky planets appear in the habitable zones of stars like our sun, a key step toward NASA's goal of understanding our place in the universe.
Scientists also are working on the next catalog release of Kepler’s four-year data set. The analysis will include the final month of data collected by the mission and also will be conducted using sophisticated software that is more sensitive to the tiny telltale signatures of small Earth-size planets than software used in the past.
Ames is responsible for Kepler's mission operations, ground system development and science data analysis. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colorado, 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 in Washington.
For more information about the Kepler mission, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/kepler
-end-

http://www.nasa.gov/press/2015/january/nasa-s-kepler-marks-1000th-exoplanet-discovery-uncovers-more-small-worlds-in/#.VKwrPkbfWnM

Felicia Chou
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0257
felicia.chou@nasa.gov
Michele Johnson
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
650-604-6982
michele.johnson@nasa.gov
« Last Edit: 01/06/2015 05:40 PM by Star One »

Online jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #377 on: 01/07/2015 06:10 PM »
Here is the paper accompanying the announcement:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1501.01101

--- Tony

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #378 on: 01/17/2015 07:35 PM »
Three nearly Earth-size planets found orbiting nearby star.

Quote
NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, despite being hobbled by the loss of critical guidance systems, has discovered a star with three planets only slightly larger than Earth. The outermost planet orbits in the "Goldilocks" zone, a region where surface temperatures could be moderate enough for liquid water and perhaps life, to exist.
The star, EPIC 201367065, is a cool red M-dwarf about half the size and mass of our own sun. At a distance of 150 light years, the star ranks among the top 10 nearest stars known to have transiting planets. The star's proximity means it's bright enough for astronomers to study the planets' atmospheres to determine whether they are like Earth's atmosphere and possibly conducive to life.
"A thin atmosphere made of nitrogen and oxygen has allowed life to thrive on Earth. But nature is full of surprises. Many exoplanets discovered by the Kepler mission are enveloped by thick, hydrogen-rich atmospheres that are probably incompatible with life as we know it," said Ian Crossfield, the University of Arizona astronomer who led the study.

A paper describing the find by astronomers at the University of Arizona, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and other institutions has been submitted to Astrophysical Journal and is freely available on the arXiv website.

http://m.phys.org/news/2015-01-earth-size-planets-orbiting-nearby-star.html

Here's the paper.

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1501.03798v1.pdf

Online jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #379 on: 01/18/2015 05:46 PM »
I expect to hear a lot more about that latest K2 find: the star is a bright M0.2 and ideal for follow-up, both ground based RV and Hubble transmission spectroscopy (and JWST when it launches).

I'd expect RV results later this year, which will give us a few more points on the radius/density curve

--- Tony

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