Author Topic: NASA - Kepler updates  (Read 207321 times)

Online jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #520 on: 01/25/2018 07:13 AM »
What, no mention of who the amateur planet hunters were?! The discoverers were from Australia, participating in an online planet hunting survey as part of the ABC's (Australian Broadcasting Commission) Stargazing Live show with Prof. Brian Cox and host Ms. Julia Zemiro.

Yes, it followed the same (very successful!) format that had been used by Planet Hunter for Kepler ... and the Exoplanet Explorers site has some of the same issues over discovery / publication. 

It took ages for Planet Hunters to realise some of the citizen "Talk" discoveries were publishable, which resulted in many planets found first by them being published elsewhere.  For Exoplanet Explorers, this is compounded by other issues:
* I don't get the sense that the ad hoc "community pipeline" works as well as it did on Planet Hunters for Kepler
* Delays in processing and upload of the K2 data to the EE site.  Understandable as reliant on production of Everest2 curves, terra pipeline, etc

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out for TESS, where there is no proprietary period, and because the pixel size is so large, a large community effort will be required to sort out source confusion and dilution issues.

--- Tony
« Last Edit: 01/25/2018 07:16 AM by jebbo »

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #521 on: 02/15/2018 08:02 PM »
Kepler scientists discover almost 100 new exoplanets

"We started out analyzing 275 candidates of which 149 were validated as real exoplanets. In turn 95 of these planets have proved to be new discoveries," said American PhD student Andrew Mayo at the National Space Institute (DTU Space) at the Technical University of Denmark.

"This research has been underway since the first K2 data release in 2014."

Mayo is the main author of the work being presented in the Astronomical Journal.

The research has been conducted partly as a senior project during his undergraduate studies at Harvard College. It has also involved a team of international colleagues from institutions such as NASA, Caltech, UC Berkeley, the University of Copenhagen, and the University of Tokyo.

The Kepler spacecraft was launched in 2009 to hunt for exoplanets in a single patch of sky, but in 2013 a mechanical failure crippled the telescope. However, astronomers and engineers devised a way to repurpose and save the space telescope by changing its field of view periodically. This solution paved the way for the follow up K2 mission, which is still ongoing as the spacecraft searches for exoplanet transits.

These transits can be found by registering dips in light caused by the shadow of an exoplanet as it crosses in front of its host star. These dips are indications of exoplanets which must then be examined much closer in order to validate the candidates that are actually exoplanets.

The field of exoplanets is relatively young. The first planet orbiting a star similar to our own Sun was detected only in 1995. Today some 3,600 exoplanets have been found, ranging from rocky Earth-sized planets to large gas giants like Jupiter.

It's difficult work to distinguish which signals are actually coming from exoplanets. Mayo and his colleagues analyzed hundreds of signals of potential exoplanets thoroughly to determine which signals were created by exoplanets and which were caused by other sources.

"We found that some of the signals were caused by multiple star systems or noise from the spacecraft. But we also detected planets that range from sub Earth-sized to the size of Jupiter and larger," said Mayo.

One of the planets detected was orbiting a very bright star.

"We validated a planet on a 10 day orbit around a star called HD 212657, which is now the brightest star found by either the Kepler or K2 missions to host a validated planet. Planets around bright stars are important because astronomers can learn a lot about them from ground-based observatories," said Mayo.

"Exoplanets are a very exciting field of space science. As more planets are discovered, astronomers will develop a much better picture of the nature of exoplanets which in turn will allow us to place our own solar system into a galactic context".

The Kepler space telescope has made huge contributions to the field of exoplanets both in its original mission and its successor K2 mission. So far these missions have provided over 5,100 exoplanet candidates that can now be examined more closely.

With new, upcoming space missions like the James Webb Space Telescope and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, astronomers will take exciting new steps toward characterizing and studying exoplanets like the rocky, habitable, Earth-sized planets that might be capable of supporting life.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/tuod-ksd021418.php

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #522 on: 05/24/2018 08:13 PM »
Kepler Begins 18th Observing Campaign with a Focus on Star Clusters

On May 12, NASA’s planet-hunting spacecraft Kepler began the 18th observing campaign of its extended mission, K2. For the next 82 days, Kepler will stare at clusters of stars, faraway galaxies and a handful of solar system objects, including comets, objects beyond Neptune and an asteroid closer to Earth. The Kepler spacecraft is expected to run out of fuel within several months.

Campaign 18 is a familiar patch of space as it’s approximately the same region of sky that Kepler observed during Campaign 5 in 2015. One of the advantages of observing a field over again is that planets outside the solar system, called exoplanets, may be found orbiting farther from their stars. Astronomers hope to not only discover new exoplanets during this campaign, but also to confirm candidates that were previously identified.

Open clusters are regions where stars formed at roughly the same age, including Messier 67 and Messier 44, otherwise known as Praesepe or the Beehive cluster. Home to six known exoplanets, the Praesepe cluster will be searched anew for objects that are transiting, or crossing, around these and other stars.

At approximately 800 million years old, the stars in Praesepe are in their teenage years compared to our Sun. Many of these youthful stars are active and have large spots that can reveal information about a star’s magnetic field, a fundamental component of a star that drives flaring and other activity that may have influence over habitability. By comparing brightness data collected in campaigns 18 and 5, scientists can learn more about how a star’s spots cycle over time.

At several billion years old, the Messier 67 cluster is much older and has many Sun-like stars. It is one of the best-studied open clusters in the sky. Astronomers will continue their studies of stellar astrophysics by analyzing Messier 67’s stars for changes in brightness. They will search for the signatures of exoplanets, observe the pulsations of evolved stars and measure the rotation rates of many other stars in the cluster.

Beyond these clusters, Kepler will observe blazars, the energetic nuclei of faraway galaxies with black holes in their centers. These objects propel jets of hot plasma toward Earth — though they are far too distant to affect us. The most notable of these targets is OJ 287, a system hosting two black holes in orbit around each other, one of which is 18 billion times the mass of the Sun!

Even closer to home, Kepler will look at solar system objects, including comets, trans-Neptunian objects and the near-Earth asteroid 99942 Apophis. This 1,000-foot chunk of rock will pass within 20,000 miles of Earth in the year 2029 — close but still comfortably far enough to not pose any danger to Earthlings.

NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley manages the Kepler and K2 missions for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation operates the flight system with support from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.


Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #523 on: 05/25/2018 09:29 AM »
Kepler-503b: An Object at the Hydrogen Burning Mass Limit Orbiting a Subgiant Star (arXiv)

Quote
(Abstract)
Using spectroscopic radial velocities with the APOGEE instrument and Gaia distance estimates, we demonstrate that Kepler-503b, currently considered a validated Kepler planet, is in fact a brown-dwarf/low-mass star in a nearly circular 7.2-day orbit around a subgiant star. Using a mass estimate for the primary star derived from stellar models, we derive a companion mass and radius of 0.075±0.003 M⊙ (78.6±3.1 MJup) and 0.099+0.006−0.004 R⊙ (0.96+0.06−0.04 RJup), respectively. Assuming the system is coeval, the evolutionary state of the primary indicates the age is ∼6.7 Gyr. Kepler-503b sits right at the hydrogen burning mass limit, straddling the boundary between brown dwarfs and very low-mass stars. More precise radial velocities and secondary eclipse spectroscopy with James Webb Space Telescope will provide improved measurements of the physical parameters and age of this important system to better constrain and understand the physics of these objects and their spectra. This system emphasizes the value of radial velocity observations to distinguish a genuine planet from astrophysical false positives, and is the first result from the SDSS-IV monitoring of Kepler planet candidates with the multi-object APOGEE instrument.

Useful as a reminder that most validated Kepler planets were so validated on statistical grounds and therefore some were bound to be false positives.

Be interesting to see if they can determine whether this is a brown dwarf or a star. Given its age it has presumably burnt all its deuterium and would have lost its heat of formation. So, is its current temperature the result of heating from the primary or does it need an extra source of heat?

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #524 on: 06/07/2018 08:21 PM »
Quote
The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of Oviedo present today the discovery of two new planetary systems, one of them hosting three planets with the same size of the Earth. The information about these new exoplanets has been obtained from the data collected by the K2 mission of NASA's Kepler satellite, which started in November 2013.

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2018/06/were-getting-closer-kepler-mission-data-reveals-three-new-earth-sized-planets-orbiting-red-dwarf-sta.html

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #525 on: 07/06/2018 07:50 PM »
Kepler in safe mode amid concerns spacecraft is running out of fuel

Quote
NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has paused science observations upon receiving indications that the spacecraft may be finally running out of fuel after more than nine years of operations.

In a status update distributed July 6, NASA said mission managers halted a current set of observations known as Campaign 18 and placed the spacecraft into a “no-fuel-use safe mode” July 2 after receiving indications of what the agency called an “anomalous” drop in fuel pressure in the spacecraft.

That safe mode, mission officials said, will preserve the 51 days of “flawless” observations collected during Campaign 18. The spacecraft will remain in that safe mode until Aug. 2, when it will resume operations for a previously scheduled downlink of data through the Deep Space Network.

Quote
In a statement, NASA said it will provide an update on the status of Kepler after the downlink of Campaign 18 observations in early August. The mission is, for now, planning to start Campaign 19 Aug. 6 while also continuing preparations for Campaign 20, which would begin in mid-October. The mission will continue even after the end of spacecraft operations in order to fund analysis of the data collected to date.

http://spacenews.com/kepler-in-safe-mode-amid-concerns-spacecraft-is-running-out-of-fuel/

Offline hop

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #526 on: 07/06/2018 07:58 PM »

Offline redliox

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #527 on: 07/06/2018 08:08 PM »
So Kepler might be on its last leg finally.  :'(

Hopefully its (likely final) science campaign does well with whatever time left (in this case in the fuel tanks).  It sounds encouraging that they're reexamining a patch of sky (in Cancer the links mention) to confirm the prior study.  This space telescope will be well-remembered alongside Hubble, especially for exoplanet research.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Offline speedevil

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #528 on: 07/06/2018 10:58 PM »
Kepler in safe mode amid concerns spacecraft is running out of fuel

Quote
NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has paused science observations upon receiving indications that the spacecraft may be finally running out of fuel after more than nine years of operations.

In a status update distributed July 6, NASA said mission managers halted a current set of observations known as Campaign 18 and placed the spacecraft into a “no-fuel-use safe mode” July 2 after receiving indications of what the agency called an “anomalous” drop in fuel pressure in the spacecraft.

That safe mode, mission officials said, will preserve the 51 days of “flawless” observations collected during Campaign 18. The spacecraft will remain in that safe mode until Aug. 2, when it will resume operations for a previously scheduled downlink of data through the Deep Space Network.

http://spacenews.com/kepler-in-safe-mode-amid-concerns-spacecraft-is-running-out-of-fuel/

I linked earlier to a Dec 2017 presentationin which they said that running out of fuel was likely march-april 2018. Looks like they beat that a little.

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