NASA Kepler News
To boldly go: How 'Star Trek inspired NASA's Planet Hunters
In the 50th anniversary of the 1960s "Star Trek" series, the show remains a palpable presence for NASA scientists and engineers. Some are partial to the original series and others the “Next Generation”, “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager” or “Enterprise.” They say various "Star Trek" manifestations, on television or the big screen, made a lasting impression, helping fire their passion for space exploration. This Feature by Pat Brennan, of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program, has quotes from Kepler Mission Project Scientist, Steve Howell.
Kepler Watches Stellar Dancers in the Pleiades Cluster
"We hope that by comparing our results to other star clusters, we will learn more about the relationship between a star’s mass, its age, and even the history of its solar system," said Luisa Rebull, a research scientist at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech in Pasadena, California.
As reported in last week's Mission Manager's Update, the Kepler spacecraft's photometer—the onboard camera—was commanded to return to science after being found to be off during a routine contact on Thursday, July 28. Yesterday, the team confirmed that the photometer responded as expected and began collecting data again on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
NASA's K2 Finds Newborn Exoplanet Around Young Star
Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope and its extended K2 mission, astronomers have discovered the youngest fully formed exoplanet ever detected: K2-33b, 5 to 10 million years old, a bit larger than Neptune with an orbital period of five days.
New Planet Is Largest Discovered That Orbits Two Suns
A team led by astronomers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and San Diego State University (SDSU) in California, used NASA's Kepler Space Telescope to identify the new planet, Kepler-1647b, the largest planet yet discovered around a double-star system.
Kepler-223 System: Clues to Planetary Migration
A new study using data from NASA's Kepler space telescope suggests that the Kepler-223 planets orbit their star in the same configuration that Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune may have had in the early history of our solar system, before migrating to their current locations.
REDDIT Science AMA Series: NASA Kepler Mission
We're the engineers who saved NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft, twice! AMA Participants: Charlie Sobeck (mission boss at Ames), Marcie Smith (spacecraft boss at Ames), Stephen Walker (mission systems engineer at Ames), Geert Barentsen (science ninja at Ames), Doug Hudgins (program scientist at NASA HQ)
Kepler goes into Emergency Mode ...and recovers
Kepler went into an Emergency Mode (EM) last Thursday (April 7), the first EM that the Kepler spacecraft has encountered during its seven years in space. On Sunday morning (April 10), the spacecraft reached a stable state and the mission cancelled the spacecraft emergency. The Kepler team is thoroughly assessing all on board systems to ensure the spacecraft is healthy enough to return to science mode and begin the K2 mission's microlensing observing campaign, Campaign 9.
Searching for Far Out and Wandering Worlds
This week, NASA's K2 mission and other ground-based observatories have teamed up to kick-off a global experiment to survey millions of stars toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy in search of exoplanets wandering between the stars.
NASA's K2 mission: The Kepler Space Telescope's Second Chance to Shine
A space telescope with a distinguished history of discovering distant exoplanets – planets orbiting other stars – was about to outdo even itself, racking up hundreds more discoveries and helping to usher in entirely new opportunities in astrophysics research. ...The discoveries roll in....
K2 and Kepler at AAS
A series of tweets gives a small glimpse of a big K2 and Kepler presence at the American Astronomical Society meeting in the first week of January 2016.
More on K2SciCon
Here are some highlights based on tweets from days 2-4 of the conference.
K2 astronomers are presenting scientific results at K2SciCon hosted byLas Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network in Santa Barbara, Nov 2-5, 2015.
Kepler's Borucki Retires after Five Decades at NASA
After a career spanning 53 years and championing a mission deemed impossible for decades, William Borucki, the principal investigator of NASA's planet-hunting Kepler mission, will retire from the agency on July 3.
Kepler-138b: a Mars-size exoplanet, now with a measured mass
The Kepler-138 system has two Earth-size planets (Kepler-138c and Kepler-138d) and one Mars-size planet (Kepler-138b). Kepler-138c and Kepler-138b are likely rocky, but Kepler-138d is less dense and cannot be made of the same mix of material as Earth.
Mission Manager Update: K2 in Campaign 4
K2 campaign 4 began; Pleiades and Hyades in Kepler field of view; Borucki inducted as NASA Ames Fellow; Kepler team receives 2015 National Air and Space Museum Trophy....
Kepler Wins National Air and Space Museum Trophy
The team in charge of NASA's Kepler mission, responsible for history's first detection of Earth-sized planets orbiting other suns in their temperate "habitable zone," received the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's highest group honor, the Trophy for Current Achievement, which honors outstanding endeavors in the fields of aerospace science and technology, at a ceremony in Washington on 2015 March 25.
NASA Supercomputer Assists the Hunt for Exomoons
A team of 21st-century explorers working on the Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler (HEK) project, based at Harvard University, are searching for exomoons using data from NASA's Kepler mission and the Pleiades supercomputer at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at NASA's Ames Research Center.
Kepler K2 Mission Planning for Observing Fields 4 and 5
The Kepler K2 Guest Observer Program welcomes proposals addressing compelling scientific questions about exoplanet detection, stellar astrophysics, galactic and extragalatic astrophysics, and Solar System science.
Kepler Mission Manager Update: A New Mission Manager
Apparently, report of the death of Kepler's data collection was an exaggeration. We are collecting science data on approximately 8,000 targets, including most of the open star cluster M35! And today the team announces a change in project management.
First Earth-Size Planet in 'Habitable Zone'
The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun. The host star is about 500 light-years from Earth and is classified as an M dwarf, or red dwarf, a class of stars that makes up 70 percent of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
Art of Discovery
Kepler has launched an art competition: The Kepler Art of Discovery, open to anyone in the U.S. ages 13 and up. Competition period is March 10 – June 9, 2014.
Kepler Mission Manager Update: Loss of a science module
Preparations continue for the first K2 campaign in the ecliptic plane. During a recent test, we found one of the science detector modules had failed, but it does not appear that this will have any impact on K2 Campaign 0 should it be approved. Also 1 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Feb. 26, NASA Kepler news teleconference. See MEDIA ADVISORY M14-033.
Kepler Finds a Very Wobbly Planet
Kepler-413b, circling a binary of orange and red dwarf stars every 66 days, wobbles wildly on its spin axis by as much as 30 degrees over 11 years leading to rapid and erratic changes in seasons.
PBS NOVA: “Alien Planets Revealed”
Kepler is the main attraction in the new PBS NOVA production “Alien Planets Revealed,” with Kepler team members Natalie Batalha, Geoff Marcy, Sara Seager, and David Charbonneau being stars of the show. It aired last night.
Kepler at American Astronomical Society (AAS) Meeting
The Kepler team is announcing results on planet discoveries, astrophysics, and plans for the next incarnation of Kepler mission, K2, at at the 223rd AAS Meeting occurring in Washington, DC, 5-9 January 2014.
Two-Wheel Kepler Mission Invited to 2014 Senior Review
Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director, has decided to invite Kepler to the Senior Review for astrophysics operating missions in early 2014. The Kepler team's proposal, dubbed K2, demonstrated a clever and feasible methodology for accurately controlling the Kepler spacecraft at the level of precision required for scientifically valuable data collection.
Kepler-78b: first Earth-size planet with measured Earth-mass
A handful of planets the size or mass of Earth have been discovered. Kepler-78b is the first to have both a measured mass and size. It's 1.2 times the size of Earth and 1.7 times more massive, suggesting it is made primarily of rock and iron.
Deviant spin of a red giant star
Kepler team has found that the spinning of Kepler-56, a red giant star, is not aligned with two of its planets and that may be caused by a third, massive companion in a long period orbit.
Kepler Mission Manager Update: Pointing Test Results
Following months of analysis and testing, the team is ending its attempts to restore the spacecraft to full working order as the recent pointing test proved unsuccessful...Though the spacecraft will no longer operate with its unparalleled precision pointing, scientists expect Kepler’s most interesting discoveries are still to come. Read the full update.
NASA Ends Attempts to Fully Recover Kepler Spacecraft, Potential New Missions Considered
Following months of analysis and testing, the Kepler Space Telescope team is ending its attempts to restore the spacecraft to full working order, and now is considering what new science research it can carry out. The already collected data--over 4 years' worth--will take many months to process and years to analyze. It holds the answer to the question that inspired the mission: Are Earths in the habitable zone of stars like our sun common or rare?
Kepler Mission Manager Update: Pointing Test
The team has continued exploratory recovery testing of the faulty reaction wheels. Both reaction wheels have spun bi-directionally, but friction levels remain high. The next step will be a system-level performance test to see if the wheels can adequately control spacecraft pointing. Meanwhile, existing data analysis continues. The team has added 274 new planet candidates, bringing the current count to 3,548.
The Kepler Science Conference II has been announced for Nov. 4-8, 2013 at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, CA. Registration is now open. Read the full update.
Second Kepler Science Conference, Nov. 4-8, 2013
We are happy to announce that the Second Kepler Science Conference will be held at the NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California, from November 4 to 8, 2013. Please alert your colleagues about this announcement, and plan on joining us at NASA Ames to celebrate the scientific discoveries made by NASA's Kepler Mission.
Registration and abstract submission will be open by August 1 and the Abstract deadline is September 6. Please see: http://nexsci.caltech.edu/conferences/KeplerII/index.shtml for more information.
Kepler Mission Manager Update: Initial Recovery Tests
On Thursday, July 18, 2013, the team initiated exploratory recovery tests on the spacecraft's two failed wheels. The recovery tests are a series of steps to characterize the performance of these Reaction Wheels, and to determine if either could be returned to operation. Over the next two weeks, engineers will review the data from these tests and consider what steps to take next. Although both wheels have shown motion, the friction levels will be critical in future considerations. Read the full update.
Kepler Mission Manager Update: Preparing for Recovery
Operations in Point Rest State have continued for the spacecraft while tests for recovery have been devised and are being checked. Meanwhile, the team announces 63 more planet candidates added since the last report, the count now stands at 3,277. Two new planets discovered in an old star cluster bring the count of planets confirmed with Kepler data to 134. Read the full update.
Stars Don't Eat Their Young Migrating Planets
A new study using data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope shows that hot Jupiters, despite their close-in orbits, are not regularly consumed by their stars. Instead, the planets remain in fairly stable orbits for billions of years, until the day comes when they may ultimately get eaten.
1,924 new KOIs
A KOI is a "Kepler Object of Interest." Caution: a KOI is not the same thing as an actual "planet candidate."
Mission Manager Update: Point Rest State
Following the apparent failure of Kepler's reaction wheel 4 on May 11, 2013, engineers were successful at transitioning the spacecraft from a Thruster-Controlled Safe Mode to Point Rest State. The spacecraft has remained safe and stable in this attitude and is no longer considered to be in a critical situation. Read the full update.
New Method of Finding Planets Scores its First Discovery
A team at Tel Aviv University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has just discovered an exoplanet using a new method that relies on Einstein’s special theory of relativity. The method is called relativistic BEaming, Ellipsoidal, and Reflection/emission modulations (BEER), and opens up new discovery possibilities for astronomers.
Mission Manager Update
During a scheduled semi-weekly contact on Friday, May 3, 2013, engineers discovered that the Kepler spacecraft was in a self-protective state called a safe mode. The spacecraft was returned to science data collection just before midnight on Monday, May 6, 2013. See Full Update.
Mission Manager Update
The team recently completed a monthly science data download...marking the successful completion of Quarter 16 flight operations and the beginning of Quarter 17. The monthly contact also included a quarterly roll of the spacecraft to the spring attitude. ... The team held a NASA-televised press conference on April 18 to announce the discoveries of two planetary systems harboring three super-Earth-size habitable zone planets. See Full Update.
Kepler's Smallest Habitable Zone Planets
With Kepler mission's new discoveries of three super-Earth-size planets in their star's "habitable zone" we gather increasing momentum in the ultimate search for planets similar to Earth in size and temperature.
Planet Hunters discovery: PH1b (Kepler-64b)
PH1 is a four star planetary system hosting a circumbinary planet (PH1b or Kepler-64b) discovered by transits spotted by Planet Hunter volunteers Robert Gagliano and Kian Jek. Megan E. Schwamb is lead author for the disocvery paper, Planet Hunters: A Transiting Circumbinary Planet in a Quadruple Star System, accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.
Mission Manager Update
...the spacecraft continues to operate efficiently, returning high-quality science data. ...The wheel rest period of January 17-January 27 appears to have had no beneficial impact on alleviating the elevated friction in reaction wheel #4. The high-rate data revealed additional transient friction, in the form of torque spikes, in RW4. ...all mitigation steps to preserve wheel life have been implemented, and no additional steps are planned at this time.... See Full Update.
Announcing 461 New Kepler Planet Candidates
At a press conference at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Long Beach CA, Chris Burke announced new results from the Kepler Mission, including 461 new planet candidates. Francois Fressin presented "At Least One in Six Stars Has an Earth-size Planet"
Kepler Participating Scientist Program Announcement
The Kepler Participating Scientist Program (PSP), designed to fund community investigations that advance the goals of the Kepler Mission during its extended phase, notices of intent are requested by January 18, 2013, and the due date for proposals is March 1, 2013.
Kepler Completes Prime Mission and Begins Extended Mission
Today Kepler Space Telescope marks two milestones: the successful completion of its prime mission searching for exoplanets and the beginning of an extended mission that we expect to last at least four years, unfolding a census of exoplanets, the ones of greatest interest being other Earths that could already be in the data, awaiting analysis. Kepler's most exciting results are yet to come.
Revisiting exoplanet TrES-2 (Kepler-1b)
A study of exoplanet TrES-2 using 2.7 years of observations by the Kepler spacecraft yield very precise measurements of the host star's size, thus pinpointing the planet's size with unprecedented accuracy.
Planet Hunters Find Circumbinary Planet in 4-Star System
Planet Hunter volunteers, Kian Jek of San Francisco, Calif., and Robert Gagliano of Cottonwood, Ariz., have helped discover an alien planet with two suns. But this circumbinary system is in turn orbited by two more stars — a star-planet system that is the first of its kind known.
Kepler-47: Our First Binary Star 2-Planet System
Kepler mission has discovered Kepler-47b and 47c, the first transiting circumbinary system — multiple planets orbiting two suns. Moreover, Kepler-47c is in the binary system's habitable zone (where liquid water may exist).
The Transit Timing Variation (TTV) Planet-finding Technique Begins to Flower
The Transit Timing Variation (TTV) method of planet-finding, first used to discover Kepler-9d (Science online 26 August 2010), is really flowering with submission of two independent papers, currently under scientific peer-review, confirming a total of 41 new transiting planets in 20 multiple planet systems in the Kepler field of view.
Kepler: The Long Road to Other Worlds
An article by Kerry Ellis for NASA ASK Magazine, Issue #47, Summer 2012. It took nearly 20 years of persistence and ingenuity to prove that Kepler could find exoplanets. Now, with an extended mission to 2016, Kepler's results will be important in guiding the next generation of exoplanet missions. William Borucki, Kepler principal investigator at Ames, shares the journey of proving his idea of high-precision transit photometry to search for other worlds today.
Kepler Team receives the Vision to Reality Award
Kepler Team receives from Space Frontier Foundation the Vision to Reality Award for outstanding achievement in the development and operation of a device, system or entity that forwards the opening of the Space Frontier..
A far-off solar system
Researchers measure the orientation of a multiplanet system and find it very similar to our own solar system.
Kepler Science Team to Receive ASP Maria & Eric Muhlman Award
Kepler Principal Investigator William Borucki and the Kepler Science Team are the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's choice for the 2012 Maria & Eric Muhlman Award "for recent significant observational results made possible by innovative advances in astronomical instrumentation, software, or observational infrastructure."
Alien World Looms Large in its Neighbor World's Sky
Kepler Mission astronomers discovered a star, Kepler-36, with two planets orbiting closer to each other than any other pair of planets in any planetary system found to date. But they are strikingly different types of planets.
NASA'S Pleiades Supercomputer Gets A Little More Oomph
NASA's flagship Pleiades supercomputer just received a boost to help keep pace with the intensive number-crunching requirements of scientists and engineers working on some of the agency's most challenging missions, including processing massive amounts of star data gathered from NASA's Kepler spacecraft, leading to the discovery of new Earth-sized planets in the Milky Way galaxy.
Small planets do not need metal-rich stars
A research team led by Lars A. Buchhave has studied the elemental composition of more than 150 Kepler stars harboring 226 Kepler planet candidates smaller than Neptune and found that the occurrence of small planets does not depend as strongly on the metallicity of the host star. This observation suggests that terrestrial-like planets may be widespread in the disk of our Galaxy, with no special requirement of higher metallicity stars for their formation.
AAS Student Virtual Forum: remotely attend the "Exoplanet Census from Kepler" session
American Astronomical Society (AAS) will hold it's first experimental online oral session at the 220th AAS meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. This allows for attendees from remote locations via the Internet to the Meeting-in-a-Meeting session 306, entitled "Exoplanet Census from Kepler," on Tuesday, June 12th, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
A Study of 63 Hot Jupiter Systems
A study of 63 hot Jupiter systems, planetary systems with Jupiter-size planet candidates in three day orbits found no evidence of small, companion candidates, suggesting that small candidates were ejected from the system, leaving large planets to later circularize into tight orbits.
Earth-based Observations Lead to Planet Candidates in Habitable Zones
A paper by P. Muirhead et al submitted to The Astrophysical Journal reports new stellar parameters of 84 cooler late-K and M-type stars in the Kepler Input Catalog. New stellar radii and temperatures obtained through observations using the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory has resulted in new orbit sizes for three super Earth-size planet candidates that place them the habitable zones of the respective host stars.
NASA Approves Kepler Mission Extension
NASA's Kepler mission has been approved for extension through fiscal year 2016 based on a recommendation from the Agency’s Senior Review of its operating missions.
The Ones Have It
Not only did the Kepler Launch Clock recently reach the 1000 days milestone, it reached the 1111:11:11:11 milestone.
1,091 New Kepler Planet Candidates
The NASA Kepler mission has made public 1,091 new planet candidates, bringing the total Kepler planet candidate count now to 2,321. Details are contained in an Astrophysical Journal article.
Black History Month Feature: Discussion With John Johnson
As part of Black History Month, John Johnson, scientist at NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, discussed his research and recent discoveries, and the path that led him to the work he's doing today.
NASA's Kepler announces 11 planetary systems hosting 26 planets
This nearly doubles the number of verified planets and triples the number of stars known to have multiple transiting planets. Most were confirmed Transit Timing Variations (TTVs) without the need for ground based observations, but discoveries in Kepler-33 system are by a very exciting new statistical method of confirming planets in multi-planet systems.
KOI-961: A Mini-Planetary System
Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler mission have discovered the three smallest planets yet detected orbiting a star beyond our sun. The planets orbit a single star, called KOI-961, and are 0.78, 0.73 and 0.57 times the radius of Earth. The smallest is about the size of Mars.
Kepler-20 system: 5 planets including two that are Earth-size
The Kepler mission discovered the smallest transiting planets yet found around a star beyond our own. The system is jam-packed with five planets, all circling within a distance roughly equivalent to Mercury's orbit in our solar system. One is almost exactly Earth-size and one is even less—about 7/8 Earth size.
Kepler-22b, our first planet in the habitable zone of a Sun-like Star
The Kepler team has discovered Kepler-22b, a planet 2.4 times the size of Earth that orbits a sun-like star in 289 days. It the smallest planet yet found to orbit in the middle of its star's habitable zone, which is the region around a star where temperatures are just right for liquid water, a key ingredient for life.
Kepler Deputy Project Scientist Steve Howell led a research team in discovering that one of the brightest stars in the Kepler star field has a 1.6 Earth-radius planet circling its parent star with a 2.8 day period. With such a short period, and only about 6 million km away from its parent star Kepler 21b is a toasty 1900 K, or 2960 F.
Discovery of Kepler-17b
This is a hot Jupiter-class planet orbiting an active star, with dark spots that are frequently occulted by the planet. From this we find the star rotates in about 12 days, only 8 times the the planet’s orbital period.
Discovery of Kepler-18b, c, and d
A team of Kepler researchers led by Bill Cochran of The University of Texas at Austin has announced the discovery three planets: a super-Earth and two Neptune-sized planets. Kepler-18b is "validated" (by ruling out other possibilities that might masquerade as a planet) , while c and d are "verified" thanks to analysis of their gravitational interactions.
NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers a World Orbiting Two Stars
The existence of a world with a double sunset, as portrayed in the film Star Wars more than 30 years ago, is now scientific fact. NASA's Kepler mission has made the first unambiguous detection of a circumbinary planet -- a planet orbiting two stars -- 200 light-years from Earth.
The turbulent lives of stars
The stars are boiling! The reason is the energy generated in the center of the star that wants to escape. If this does not happen quickly enough, the star starts to ‘boil’ in the outer layers causing vibrations that result in light variations, like in the Sun. Such oscillations have now been discovered by Victoria Antoci and collaborators using the NASA spacecraft Kepler, but in a much hotter star. The scientists publish this in the most recent issue of “Nature”.
NASA to Announce Kepler Discovery at Media Briefing
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA will host a news briefing at 11 a.m. PDT, Thursday, Sept. 15, to announce a new discovery by the Kepler mission. The briefing will be held ...at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The event will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency’s website at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.
Invisible World Discovered
Kepler planet discoveries: Kepler-19b, transits its star every 9 days and 7 hours. It orbits the star at a distance of 8.4 million miles, where it is heated to a temperature of about 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Kepler-19b has a diameter of 18,000 miles, making it slightly more than twice the size of Earth….
Kepler-19c—discovered because Kepler -19b alternately runs late and early in its orbit due to Kepler-19c tugging on it—could be a rocky planet on a circular 5-day orbit, or a gas-giant planet on an oblong 100-day orbit....
NASA’s Kepler Mission Announces Next Data Release to Public Archive
The next release of Kepler data to the public archive (quarter three science data collected from September to December 2009) will be available for download on Sept. 23, 2011 from the Multimission Archive at STScI (MAST).
The team recognizes a strong demand from the scientific community for Kepler data, as evidenced by the number of papers on exoplanet science as well as stellar astrophysics that have been published using Kepler data.
Alien World is Blacker than Coal
A Press Release from Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA announcing that astronomers have discovered the darkest known exoplanet: Jupiter-sized gas giant known as TrES-2b that reflects less than one percent of the sunlight falling on it, making it blacker than coal or any planet or moon in our solar system.
Gemini Image Captures Elegant Beauty of Planetary Nebula Discovered by Amateur Astronomer
… the new nebula (named Kronberger 61, or Kn 61, after its discoverer) is within a relatively small patch of sky being intensely monitored by NASA’s Kepler planet finding mission. … professional and amateur astronomers are working as partners to comb through the entire Kepler field looking for planetary nebula candidates. To date six have been found including this one by Kronberger, a member of the amateur group called the “Deep Sky Hunters.” The group, dedicated to finding new objects in our galaxy and beyond, has found two planetary nebulae in the Kepler field so far (including Kn 61) and a possible third, which, according to Jacoby, “…are extremely rare and each, a valuable gem.” …“Planetary nebulae present a profound mystery” ….
Kepler-14b, Supergiant, is orbiting one of the stars in a binary star system
Kepler-14b is a planet 8 times more massive than Jupiter, orbiting one of
the stars in a binary star system. The planet has a short orbital period of
just 7 days, while the two stars orbit each other with a much longer period
of about 2800 years. The light from the planet hosting star diluted by
its companion star significantly affects the derived
planetary parameters... and similar dilution effect could significantly affect the derived
planetary parameters of other planet discoveries.
Hubble Space Telescope's One Millionth Science Observation is of Kepler-2b
Monday, July 4, the NASA's Hubble Space Telescope logged its one millionth science observation — a search for water in an exoplanet's atmosphere 1,000 light-years away. Hubble's millionth exposure is of the planet HAT-P-7b, a gas giant planet larger than Jupiter orbiting a star hotter than our sun. HAT-P-7b, also known as Kepler 2b, has been studied by NASA's planet-hunting Kepler observatory after it was discovered by ground-based observations. Full Release at Hubblesite
NASA's Pleiades Supercomputer Ranks Among World's Fastest
The Pleiades supercomputer plays a crucial role in Kepler data analysis.
...Pleiades now contains 23,296 Intel(R) Xeon(R) quad- and hex-core processors (111,104 cores in 182 racks) that can run at a theoretical peak of approximately 1.32 quadrillion floating point operations, or calculations, per second. It achieved an official sustained rate of 1.09 petaflop per second....
NASA’s Kepler Yields the Next Harvest: A bounty of findings delivered at the 218th Meeting of the AAS in Boston
The Kepler Team had 50 presentations at the 218th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Boston, 2011 May 22-26. On May 23, Day 808 of the mission, an AAS press conference included short presentations by five Kepler team panelists: Kepler PI William Borucki, (Introduction), David Latham (on multi-planet systems), Francois Fressin (on Kepler-10c and a new technique for validating planets), Geoff Marcy (with statistical analysis to determine prevalence of various types of planets), and Søren Meibom (on determining a star’s age from its rotation speed).
Kepler-10c and a New Method to Validate Planets
Kepler has discovered a second planet in the Kepler-10 star system: Kepler-10c with a radius of 2.2 times that of Earth's, and it orbits the star every 45 days. Even more important, the discovery of Kepler-10c was a accomplished with a new method of validating planet discoveries—a method called "Blender."
Kepler’s Astounding Haul of Multiple Planet Systems
Within just the first four months of NASA’s Kepler spacecraft data collection, astronomers have found evidence for more than 1,200 planetary candidates. Of those, 408 reside in systems containing two or more planets, and most of those look very different than our solar system. David Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics presented findings today in a press conference at the 218th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
How to Learn a Star’s True Age
For many movie stars, their age is a well-kept secret. The same is true of stars in space. Like our Sun, most stars look almost the same for most of their lives. So how can we tell if a star is one billion or 10 billion years old? Astronomers may have found a solution – measuring the star’s spin. Søren Meibom of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics presented findings today in a press conference at the 218th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
Kepler discovery of a unique triply eclipsing triple star
Star HD 181068 , a 7th magnitude star almost visible to the naked eye is in reality a complex triple system in which three stars undergo mutual eclipses as each of the stars gets behind or in front of the others. The most luminous object is a red giant star around which a close pair of two red dwarfs orbits with a period of 45.5 days. The combined light from the three stars show sharp brightness decreases with a period of 0.9 days produced by the mutual eclipses of the close pair of dwarfs, while it takes 2 days for the close pair to pass in front of or behind the red giant. See also NASA Kepler Feature story: NASA Kepler Reaching into the Stars.
Kepler Listens to an Orchestra of Solar-Type Stars
An international team of asteroseismologists, led by the University of Birmingham, has used data from the NASA Kepler Mission to sample the ‘stellar music’ of 500 stars similar to the Sun, according to research published today (8 April 2011) in the journal Science. The team used the information from these natural resonances, which is coded in pulses of starlight, to measure the properties of these stars and will now be able to compare their findings with predictions based on models of the Milky Way galaxy. ...Dr Bill Chaplin from the University of Birmingham’s School of Physics and Astronomy, who leads the international collaboration, said, ... 'Thanks to the Kepler Mission we can measure and weigh the stars and look at the range of sizes and masses.' See also NASA Kepler Feature story: NASA Kepler Reaching into the Stars.
Giant stars reveal their inner secrets for the first time
University of Sydney astrophysicists are behind a major breakthrough in the study of stars known as red giants, finding a way to peer deep into their cores to discover which ones are in early infancy, which are fresh-faced teenagers, and which facing their dying days.
The discovery, published in the latest edition of the journal Nature and made possible by observations using NASA's powerful Kepler space telescope, is shedding new light on the evolution of stars, including our own sun.
Astronomers detect echoes from the depth of a red giant star
Today an international team of astronomers reports the discovery of waves inside a star that travel so deep that they reach the core. The discovery …was possible thanks to precise measurements with the Kepler space telescope. …up to now only waves in the outer part of the star were observed. ...says Hans Kjeldsen of Aarhus university, the coordinator of Kepler Asterosiesmic Science Consortium (KASC). "The measurements provided by Kepler are so incredibly precise that we see things we never saw before. It's like traveling in a whole new world"
A tweet-up with NASA Kepler and Ames Research Center
56 "tweeps" were treated to a Tweet-up at NASA Ames Research Center, including visits with Kepler mission team members. About half the tweeps were local, but the other half were from 18 states and 5 countries. And they all LOVED Tweet-up! This news item has links to media coverage, posts by the the tweeps, and a selection of tweets from the event.
NASA Chat with Kepler Scientist, Natalie Batalha
A new planet discovery will be announced Monday Jan. 10 during the 'Exoplanets & Their Host Stars' presentation at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) conference in Seattle, Washington. Natalie Batalha of the NASA Kepler Mission Team will be online answering questions.
Announcement of Earlier Kepler Data Release—from June 2011 to 1 February 2011
From AAS Electronic Announcement #214 – November 2010
The Kepler project wishes to inform the community that it is moving
the next data release date (originally planned for June 2011) forward
to 1 February 2011. This data set (Quarter 2) is the first consisting
of a complete 3 months of observations. It will contain light curves
for approximately 165,000 stars (most of which are late-type Main
Sequence stars) brighter than 16th magnitude in the Cygnus & Lyra
constellations sampled at a 30-minute cadence. Three subsets of
one-month each of [up to 512] stars were sampled at 1 min cadence. The shorter
cadence data will be released on the same schedule.
Beth Sholes Honored by Society of Women Engineers with Resnik Challenger Medal
Principal Propulsion Engineer Beth Sholes at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has won the prestigious Resnik Challenger Medal. The award recognized Sholes for her propulsion analysis and design on several unique missions including the Kepler Space Telescope. Sholes designed a propulsion system that maintains Kepler’s stability and pointing accuracy, necessary for its job of constantly observing 100,000 stars.
2010 Sagan Day Essay Contest
Sponsored by NASA's Kepler Mission and SETI Institute --||-- Deadline: October 26, 2010 --||-- Awards Announced: November 9, 2010 --||-- Must be 18 years or older --||-- Essay must: be < 1000 words
RELEASE 10-245: NASA's Kepler Mission wins 2010 software of the year award.
“Kepler Science Operations Center” software has won the NASA Software of the Year Award for 2010. In addition to a monetary award, each member of the team will be receiving a Software of the Year medallion after the Software of the Year awards ceremony to be held at the NASA Project Management Challenge on February 9th or 10th, 2011 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California.
Kepler Mission Research Paper Honored by Thomson Reuters
A Kepler Mission research paper written to serve as “the standard reference for the mission,” has been determined by Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators (SM) to be the most-cited paper in Space Science and in Emerging Research Front for October 2010. Authored by David Koch, Kepler Mission deputy principal investigator, along with a host of co-authors, “Kepler Mission Design, Realized Photometric Performance, and Early Science” provides an overview of the mission designed to find Earth-size planets in the habitable zone (where liquid water could exist) of solar-like stars.
Press Conference for LATEST FINDINGS by Kepler
MEDIA ADVISORY: M10-120 WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a media teleconference Thursday, Aug. 26, at 1 p.m. EDT to discuss the Kepler spacecraft's latest discovery about an intriguing planetary system.
Deluge of Data
Kepler releases info on exoplanet candidates
First 43 Days of Kepler Data Released
NASA's Kepler Mission has released 43 days of science data consisting of brightness changes for more than 156,000 stars originally targeted in an ongoing search for Earth-like planets outside of our solar system.
Kepler Website Honored
The Kepler website has been selected as an Official 2010 Webbie Award Honoree.
Kepler One Year Anniversary
One year ago this week, NASA’s Kepler Mission soared into the dark night sky, leaving a bright glow in its wake as it began its search for other worlds like Earth.
The First Five
NASA's Kepler space telescope, designed to find Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of sun-like stars, has discovered its first five new exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system.
Kepler's high sensitivity to both small and large planets enabled the discovery of the exoplanets, named Kepler 4b, 5b, 6b, 7b and 8b. The discoveries were announced Monday, Jan. 4, by the members of the Kepler science team during a news briefing at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington.
The Big Reveal
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. - Kepler Mission scientists will reveal the space telescope's latest discoveries at a news briefing in Washington on Monday, Jan. 4, 2010.
The announcement will be made at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST) at a news conference during the 215th national meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel.
Kepler experienced a safe mode event on November 18
Kepler experienced a safe mode event on November 18. A safe mode is a self-protective measure that the spacecraft takes when something unexpected occurs. During safe mode, the spacecraft points the solar panels directly at the sun and begins to slowly rotate about a sun-aligned axis. Science data collection was resumed by the evening of November 20.
Kepler's Search for Small Worlds Hampered by Noisy Electronics.
In spite of electronic components that are creating extraneous noise on board the Kepler space telescope, NASA officials are confident the mission will be able by 2011 to either detect Earth-size planets or reveal that those planets are uncommon
NASA'S Kepler Mission Spies Changing Phases in a Distant World
NASA Announces Briefing About Kepler's Early Science Results
WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a media briefing on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 2 p.m. EDT, to discuss early science results of the Kepler mission. Kepler is the first spacecraft with the ability to find Earth-size planets orbiting stars like our sun in a zone where liquid water could exist.