Author Topic: NASA - Kepler updates  (Read 169129 times)

Offline _INTER_

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #440 on: 07/28/2015 03:17 PM »
Why is this announceworthy?
Many people ask for this.
I read a similar first-page-news ona PAPER newspaper... around 20 years ago!

But his time:
Planet is 1.6 times the Earth.
Its star has almost same temperature of our star.
Its star sends it 1.1 times the energy our star sends to us.
Its star is 1.1 AU from it.
The solar system is older than ours, and the planet always staid in the habitable zone, for 6 billions of years (2 billions more than Earth).
Its year is 1.1 times our year. I think this is the most unusual thing: till now I've always read of hours-lasting or days-lasting "years"; this could mean that now we have (or have analyzed) enough data to start finding earth-year-like systems at last! Even planets 1 YL apart rather than 1400. :-) And a planet like 452b but 1 YL far would be much intriguing!
Let me rephrase it: Why does a planet, that's more similar to Earth in certain aspects and is way less similar elsewhere get more attention than exoplanets more habitable (note that ESI scale of Kepler 452b got corrected in wiki). Either ESI scale is not representing "potentially habitable" correctly enough or my interest in "potentially habitable" worlds is not that interesting to other people / scientists / media.

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #441 on: 07/28/2015 03:43 PM »

Why is this announceworthy?
Many people ask for this.
I read a similar first-page-news ona PAPER newspaper... around 20 years ago!

But his time:
Planet is 1.6 times the Earth.
Its star has almost same temperature of our star.
Its star sends it 1.1 times the energy our star sends to us.
Its star is 1.1 AU from it.
The solar system is older than ours, and the planet always staid in the habitable zone, for 6 billions of years (2 billions more than Earth).
Its year is 1.1 times our year. I think this is the most unusual thing: till now I've always read of hours-lasting or days-lasting "years"; this could mean that now we have (or have analyzed) enough data to start finding earth-year-like systems at last! Even planets 1 YL apart rather than 1400. :-) And a planet like 452b but 1 YL far would be much intriguing!
Let me rephrase it: Why does a planet, that's more similar to Earth in certain aspects and is way less similar elsewhere get more attention than exoplanets more habitable (note that ESI scale of Kepler 452b got corrected in wiki). Either ESI scale is not representing "potentially habitable" correctly enough or my interest in "potentially habitable" worlds is not that interesting to other people / scientists / media.

I don't know perhaps it is because not everyone shares the same view or interest in these things. I am not sure the publicity around this announcement did any real harm, and it brings interest to the topic which is no bad thing in my view.

Offline notsorandom

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #442 on: 07/28/2015 03:57 PM »
Let me rephrase it: Why does a planet, that's more similar to Earth in certain aspects and is way less similar elsewhere get more attention than exoplanets more habitable (note that ESI scale of Kepler 452b got corrected in wiki). Either ESI scale is not representing "potentially habitable" correctly enough or my interest in "potentially habitable" worlds is not that interesting to other people / scientists / media.
Two reasons I can see, one technical one scientific. Kepler was designed to detect all sorts of planets but specifically it was meant to detect planets like Kepler 452b. It is the only instrument that has a reasonable chance of doing so. Bigger planets are detectable using other methods like radial velocity. Smaller worlds orbiting close to their stars offer many more chances to catch a transit. Kepler provided an uninterrupted view for over four years with enough sensitivity to detect terrestrial worlds. With only 4 potential transits over the entire lifetime of the mission if Kepler had blinked once they could have missed it. The detection of Kepler 452b represents not only an impressive technological feat but a validation of the Kepler mission and its goals.

The other reason I think this was announcement worthy is due to the type of star it orbits. This was an important data point as the method of exoplanet detection biases the type of worlds discovered. We know now that a G class star can form planets like the ones around our sun. This had been theorized as likely but now we have proof. The number of known G class stars with small planets went from one to two and likely more as those candidates mentioned at the press conference are confirmed. Furthermore the most studied star is a G class star and we know they are great stars to host habitable planets. They are stable, calm, and long lasting. M and K class stars we know less about. What we do know raised serious concerns about the habitability of planets orbiting in the habitable zones of those stars. Other planets may rank higher on the ESI scale but that scale tends to be optimistic when it comes to M and K class stars.

Offline llanitedave

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #443 on: 07/28/2015 05:39 PM »
[quote author=Eer link=topic=16581.msg1408529#msg1408529 date=1437670019
And because of the fact that it is so far from the star (orbital period of 300+ days) I find it much better place to live (in my imagination) than those other ESI Top-10 planets, which have orbital period of about 30 days. No matter if the star they orbit is small, it still might have harmful flares etc. scorching the nearby planets... Also tidal locking is guaranteed with those planets.

Flares might strip away the atmosphere*, but I don't think tidal locking is necessarily a problem. From what I've read, oceans & atmosphere would redistribute heat rather well so the temperature range would be rather Earth-like: permanent Saharan summer noon at the subsolar point and permanent polar winter night at the opposite point, but with large pleasant areas in between.

*would a magnetic field protect sufficiently? If so, it would probably be fine. The heat output variations should be mitigated by oceans and atmosphere.

I figured the atmosphere and oceans would evaporate off of the subsolar point and freeze out at the anti-solar point. Everything would eventually accumulate in the frozen zone and not be recycled back.
"I've just abducted an alien -- now what?"

Offline _INTER_

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #444 on: 07/29/2015 10:26 PM »
Let me rephrase it: Why does a planet, that's more similar to Earth in certain aspects and is way less similar elsewhere get more attention than exoplanets more habitable (note that ESI scale of Kepler 452b got corrected in wiki). Either ESI scale is not representing "potentially habitable" correctly enough or my interest in "potentially habitable" worlds is not that interesting to other people / scientists / media.
Two reasons I can see, one technical one scientific. Kepler was designed to detect all sorts of planets but specifically it was meant to detect planets like Kepler 452b. It is the only instrument that has a reasonable chance of doing so. Bigger planets are detectable using other methods like radial velocity. Smaller worlds orbiting close to their stars offer many more chances to catch a transit. Kepler provided an uninterrupted view for over four years with enough sensitivity to detect terrestrial worlds. With only 4 potential transits over the entire lifetime of the mission if Kepler had blinked once they could have missed it. The detection of Kepler 452b represents not only an impressive technological feat but a validation of the Kepler mission and its goals.

The other reason I think this was announcement worthy is due to the type of star it orbits. This was an important data point as the method of exoplanet detection biases the type of worlds discovered. We know now that a G class star can form planets like the ones around our sun. This had been theorized as likely but now we have proof. The number of known G class stars with small planets went from one to two and likely more as those candidates mentioned at the press conference are confirmed. Furthermore the most studied star is a G class star and we know they are great stars to host habitable planets. They are stable, calm, and long lasting. M and K class stars we know less about. What we do know raised serious concerns about the habitability of planets orbiting in the habitable zones of those stars. Other planets may rank higher on the ESI scale but that scale tends to be optimistic when it comes to M and K class stars.
I completely agree with everything you state there. I'm just soo... consternated by how the general media is twisting and down-dumbing this informations these days. Also news conferences are more about the hype and exaggerating than scientific facts. (See Pluto). Well they have to compete with 5 hour full reports about popstar x's new album about her pet y ... sigh...

Offline Vultur

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #445 on: 07/30/2015 02:38 AM »
[quote author=Eer link=topic=16581.msg1408529#msg1408529 date=1437670019
And because of the fact that it is so far from the star (orbital period of 300+ days) I find it much better place to live (in my imagination) than those other ESI Top-10 planets, which have orbital period of about 30 days. No matter if the star they orbit is small, it still might have harmful flares etc. scorching the nearby planets... Also tidal locking is guaranteed with those planets.

Flares might strip away the atmosphere*, but I don't think tidal locking is necessarily a problem. From what I've read, oceans & atmosphere would redistribute heat rather well so the temperature range would be rather Earth-like: permanent Saharan summer noon at the subsolar point and permanent polar winter night at the opposite point, but with large pleasant areas in between.

*would a magnetic field protect sufficiently? If so, it would probably be fine. The heat output variations should be mitigated by oceans and atmosphere.

I figured the atmosphere and oceans would evaporate off of the subsolar point and freeze out at the anti-solar point. Everything would eventually accumulate in the frozen zone and not be recycled back.

This is the traditional image and how it's been portrayed in SF since we thought Mercury and maybe Venus were tidally locked, but I'd read that now it was thought that the oceans & atmosphere could cycle heat sufficiently that they would never freeze out.

Offline Star One

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NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #446 on: 10/13/2015 09:42 PM »
A rather interesting update concerning Kepler observations of a particular star. Natural objects or alien mega structures in orbit around the star?

Quote
The paper finds each explanation wanting, save for one. If another star had passed through the unusual star’s system, it could have yanked a sea of comets inward. Provided there were enough of them, the comets could have made the dimming pattern.

But that would be an extraordinary coincidence, if that happened so recently, only a few millennia before humans developed the tech to loft a telescope into space. That’s a narrow band of time, cosmically speaking.

And yet, the explanation has to be rare or coincidental. After all, this light pattern doesn’t show up anywhere else, across 150,000 stars. We know that something strange is going on out there.

When I spoke to Boyajian on the phone, she explained that her recent paper only reviews “natural” scenarios. “But,” she said, there were “other scenarios” she was considering.

Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University, is set to publish an alternative interpretation of the light pattern. SETI researchers have long suggested that we might be able to detect distant extraterrestrial civilizations, by looking for enormous technological artifacts orbiting other stars. Wright and his co-authors say the unusual star’s light pattern is consistent with a “swarm of megastructures,” perhaps stellar-light collectors, technology designed to catch energy from the star.

“When [Boyajian] showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” Wright told me. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

Boyajian is now working with Wright and Andrew Siemion, the Director of the SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. The three of them are writing up a proposal. They want to point a massive radio dish at the unusual star, to see if it emits radio waves at frequencies associated with technological activity.

If they see a sizable amount of radio waves, they’ll follow up with the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico, which may be able to say whether the radio waves were emitted by a technological source, like those that waft out into the universe from Earth’s network of radio stations.

Assuming all goes well, the first observation would take place in January, with the follow-up coming next fall. If things go really well, the follow-up could happen sooner. “If we saw something exciting, we could ask the director for special allotted time on the VLA,” Wright told me. “And in that case, we’d be asking to go on right away.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/10/the-most-interesting-star-in-our-galaxy/410023/

Here's the related paper.

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.03622v1.pdf
« Last Edit: 10/13/2015 09:48 PM by Star One »

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #447 on: 10/13/2015 11:44 PM »
I happen to be one of the co-authors.  Yes it is very strange and a unique system as far as we know but I wouldn't call it aliens right yet, that's just sensationalism.  It has stumped a lot of clever people so far though.

Offline Star One

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NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #448 on: 10/14/2015 06:23 AM »
I happen to be one of the co-authors.  Yes it is very strange and a unique system as far as we know but I wouldn't call it aliens right yet, that's just sensationalism.  It has stumped a lot of clever people so far though.

Well by the standards of some of the online press it was fairly restrained.;)

But to be fair to the article I thought they might be more referencing the proposed paper from Jason Wright?
« Last Edit: 10/14/2015 06:53 AM by Star One »

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #449 on: 10/14/2015 12:38 PM »
Well yeah I know, just feel a bit of a duty to set the record straight. Sadly whenever a scientist mentions the a-word you get a lot of people who may not understand the nuance getting overexcited, already starting on Twitter.

Yeah the article is about this other paper being worked on, but as far as I understand it this is to be a theoretical paper trying to explain away features, there is no actual evidence whatsoever of a*****.  I'm well versed in light curves and while this one is odd, nothing about it indicates a***** at all, just no one can come up with a satisfactory explanation for all the features right now.  I have seen planets being ripped apart, stars being rung like bells, worlds where other planets come so close to fill much of the sky, and on and on and on.  The universe is awesome, it doesn't need aliens to make it awesome.

Don't get me wrong I'd love to have stumbled upon the greatest discovery in the history of mankind, but we probably haven't.  ;)

Doesn't mean the mystery is any less fascinating.
« Last Edit: 10/14/2015 01:39 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline Star One

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NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #450 on: 10/14/2015 02:57 PM »
Well yeah I know, just feel a bit of a duty to set the record straight. Sadly whenever a scientist mentions the a-word you get a lot of people who may not understand the nuance getting overexcited, already starting on Twitter.

Yeah the article is about this other paper being worked on, but as far as I understand it this is to be a theoretical paper trying to explain away features, there is no actual evidence whatsoever of a*****.  I'm well versed in light curves and while this one is odd, nothing about it indicates a***** at all, just no one can come up with a satisfactory explanation for all the features right now.  I have seen planets being ripped apart, stars being rung like bells, worlds where other planets come so close to fill much of the sky, and on and on and on.  The universe is awesome, it doesn't need aliens to make it awesome.

Don't get me wrong I'd love to have stumbled upon the greatest discovery in the history of mankind, but we probably haven't.  ;)

Doesn't mean the mystery is any less fascinating.

Just to get on my soapbox for a minute it would be pretty awesome if the universe had more intelligent life than just us at any one time, it would also knock the chip off our collective shoulders that it sometimes appears we have that the universe revolves around us as a species.
« Last Edit: 10/14/2015 03:00 PM by Star One »

Offline Silmfeanor

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #451 on: 10/14/2015 03:29 PM »
Also a level-headed write-up on bad astronomy. Then again, there have been some ALIENZ! headlines popping up already. Let's hope the level-headedness prevails; it is mighty interesting, either way.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2015/10/14/weird_star_strange_dips_in_brightness_are_a_bit_baffling.html

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #452 on: 10/21/2015 04:33 PM »
Let's return this to updates.

Discussion can start from this point on the new thread:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=38687.0

Offline jgoldader

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #453 on: 10/21/2015 04:47 PM »
Just for kicks to compare with KIC 8462852, here is a nice collection of typical light curves of variable stars.  Some are due to intrinsic variability, others are due to binary star mutual eclipses. 

http://kepler.nasa.gov/science/about/targetFieldOfView/stellarVariability/lightcurves/klc13/

A couple of notes:
In the case of eclipsing binaries, the eclipses occur at precisely regular intervals, unlike KIC 8462852.  Also, it's usually pretty easy to tell from spectra you have a binary, and KIC 8462852's spectrum shows no hints of binary.

In the case of dwarf novae, these stars are binaries with mass transfer from a main sequence or post-main sequence star onto a white dwarf via a hot accretion disk; there'd be emission lines in the spectrum and UV flux.  You may have multiple periods associated with the orbit of the binary (eclipses), the spin of the accretion disk, and even the spin of the white dwarf IIRC.  No sign of those in KIC 8462852.
 
In the case of intrinsically variable stars (the Cepheids and RR Lyra shown) these stars have clear periodicities.  They don't just stay steady for a year then have an off day.  Their colors tend to change as well, because the variability is due to pulsations that change the radius of the star, therefore temperature.  Again, very different from KIC 8462852.

There are many more types of variable stars, but nothing quite like the Kepler star.
Recovering astronomer

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #454 on: 04/09/2016 02:24 PM »
Mission Manager Update: Kepler spacecraft in emergency mode
During a scheduled contact on Thursday, April 7, mission operations engineers discovered that the Kepler spacecraft was in Emergency Mode (EM). EM is the lowest operational mode and is fuel intensive. Recovering from EM is the team's priority at this time.

The mission has declared a spacecraft emergency, which provides priority access to ground-based communications at the agency's Deep Space Network.

Initial indications are that Kepler entered EM approximately 36 hours ago, before mission operations began the maneuver to orient the spacecraft to point toward the center of the Milky Way for the K2 mission's microlensing observing campaign.

The spacecraft is nearly 75 million miles from Earth, making the communication slow. Even at the speed of light, it takes 13 minutes for a signal to travel to the spacecraft and back.

The last regular contact with the spacecraft was on April. 4.  The spacecraft was in good health and operating as expected.

Kepler completed its prime mission in 2012, detecting nearly 5,000 exoplanets, of which, more than 1,000 have been confirmed. In 2014 the Kepler spacecraft began a new mission called K2. In this extended mission, K2 continues the search for exoplanets while introducing new research opportunities to study young stars, supernovae, and many other astronomical objects.

Updates will be provided as additional information is available.

Regards,

Charlie Sobeck​
Kepler and K2 mission manager
NASA's Ames Research Center

http://www.nasa.gov/feature/mission-manager-update-kepler-spacecraft-in-emergency-mode

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #455 on: 04/11/2016 06:56 PM »
http://www.nasa.gov/feature/mission-manager-update-kepler-recovered-from-emergency-and-stable


April 11, 2016
Mission Manager Update: Kepler Recovered from Emergency and Stable

Mission operations engineers have successfully recovered the Kepler spacecraft from Emergency Mode (EM). On Sunday morning, the spacecraft reached a stable state with the communication antenna pointed toward Earth, enabling telemetry and historical event data to be downloaded to the ground. The spacecraft is operating in its lowest fuel-burn mode.

The mission has cancelled the spacecraft emergency, returning the Deep Space Network ground communications to normal scheduling.


Offline hop

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #456 on: 04/16/2016 01:21 AM »
Recovery seems to be going well, though no root cause identified yet.

http://www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/mission-manager-update-kepler-remains-stable-as-health-check-continues

April 15, 2016
Mission Manager Update: Kepler Remains Stable as Health Check Continues
The Kepler spacecraft remains stable as the process of returning it to science continues. The cause of the anomaly, first reported on April 8, remains under investigation.

Since Sunday morning the spacecraft has remained safely "parked" in a stable pointed configuration called Point Rest State. In this state, fuel usage remains low and the communication link to Earth is good. As of Tuesday, mission operations engineers had downlinked all the necessary data from Kepler to triage the situation and plan the steps toward recovery.

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #457 on: 04/19/2016 07:22 PM »
Jeff Foust –  ‏@jeff_foust

Grunsfeld: should be able to start next Kepler observation campaign in a couple days, after recovering from recent emergency.
9:17 a.m. - 19 Apr 2016

https://mobile.twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/722459221539819520

Offline jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #458 on: 04/22/2016 12:18 PM »
Campaign 7 data has been released

http://keplerscience.arc.nasa.gov/k2-data-release-notes.html

--- Tony

Offline as58

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #459 on: 04/22/2016 01:51 PM »
Also a new paper on arxiv:

https://arxiv.org/abs/1604.06140

Tags: updates