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http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/overview/overview22.swf. by Barbara Brown for ASTR 402 Spring, 2006. Kepler Mission test hypotheses: Most stars like our Sun have terrestrial planets in or near the habitable zone On an average two Earth-size planets form in the region between 0.5 and 1.5 AU.

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Presentation Transcript
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by Barbara Brown

for ASTR 402

Spring, 2006

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Kepler Mission test hypotheses:

  • Most stars like our Sun have terrestrial planets in or near the habitable zone
  • On an average two Earth-size planets form in the region between 0.5 and 1.5 AU
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What is a habitable planet?

  • Liquid water on planet surface--determined by size and temperature of the star and orbit of the planet
  • Size and mass of planet--small planets don’t have enough surface gravity to hold onto a life-sustaining atmosphere
  • Amount and composition of atmosphere
  • Affects of moons and giant planets in the system
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How are we going to do this?

http://kepler.nasa.gov/media/KEPLER.SWF

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Kepler Mission Scientific Objective:

  • The scientific objective of the Kepler Mission is to explore the structure and diversity of planetary systems. This is achieved by surveying a large sample of stars to:
  • Determine how many terrestrial and larger planets there are in or near the habitable zone of a wide variety of spectral types of stars;
  • Determine the range of sizes and shapes of the orbits of these planets;
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3. Estimate the how many planets there are in multiple-star systems;

4. Determine the range of orbit size, brightness, size, mass and density of short-period giant planets;

5. Identify additional members of each discovered planetary system using other techniques; and

6. Determine the properties of those stars that harbor planetary systems.

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Expected Results:

  • Based on the mission described above and assumption that planets are common around other stars like our Sun, then we expect to detect:
  • From transits of terrestrial planets:
  • About 50 planets if most are the same size as Earth (R~1.0 Re),
  • About 185 planets if most have a size of R~1.3 Re,
  • About 640 planets if most have a size of R~2.2 Re,
  • About 12% with two or more planets per system.
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From modulation of the reflected light from giant inner planets:

  • About 870 planets with periods less than one week.
  • From transits of giant planets:
  • About 135 inner-orbit planet detections,
  • Densities for 35 inner-orbit planets, and
  • About 30 outer-orbit planet detections.
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Characteristics of a planetary transit:

  • Period of recurrence of the transit
  • Duration of the transit
  • Fractional change in brightness of the star
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How can we detect a planetary transit?

http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/science/finding_planets.cfm

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What would a transit look like

(on a graph)?

http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/transit/indexTransit.html

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The Kepler instrument:

0.95-meter diameter photometer telescope

105 degrees2 field of view

Continuously and simultaneously monitor the brightnesses of more than 100,000 stars for the life of the mission—4 years

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Kepler Mission Team Members

Scientific Operations Center at NASA Ames:

William Borucki, Principal Investigator

Mission Operations Center at University of Colorado LASP

Data Management Center at Space Telescope Science Institute

Industrial partner: Ball Aerospace, Boulder, CO

resources
Resources
  • http://kepler.nasa.gov
  • “Close-up on the Kepler Mission” by Jon Jenkins, www.space.com
  • “Solar transits: Tools of discovery” by Edna DeVore, www.space.com
  • http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/Kepler/kepler_index.cfm
  • http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/transit/indexTransit.html
  • http://www.ballaerospace.com/kepler.html
  • “Detecting other worlds:The photometric transit or 'Wink' method” by Dr. Laurance Doyle, www.seti.org
  • http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/universe