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Kepler Mission Manager Update – 503 New Planet Candidates

Excerpt from the Kepler Mission Manager Update.
Read the full version.

The Kepler spacecraft remains in its Point Rest State (PRS) and is operating well in this mode...

With the spacecraft in PRS, its immediate safety is no longer an urgent concern, so an Anomaly Response Team has been formed to manage the wheel recovery efforts...

Target Region in Milky Way (1)
Kepler is studying over 150,000 stars in our neighborhood of our galaxy in the Cygnus and Lyra constellations. Most of these stars will be somewhere between 500 and 3,000 light years from our Solar System. The team has now identified 503 additional planet candidates in this small region of the sky.

Analysis of the Kepler data continues. Last week the team delivered 1,924 new Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) to the NASA Exoplanet Archive...Of the 1,924 new KOIs, 503 already have been dispositioned as planet candidates...These newly announced planet candidates bring the current count of Kepler planet candidates to 3,216. Some of these new planet candidates are small and some reside in the habitable zone of their stars, but much work remains to be done to verify these results...See the Q1-Q12 KOI activity table at the NASA Exoplanet Archive.

[Kepler results] were prominently featured at the 222nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society...Steve Howell, Kepler project scientist at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., presented a new study that suggests many of the stars in the Kepler field of view may be somewhat larger than previously thought. The research team, led by Mark Everett, postdoctoral research associate at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Ariz., used more accurately measure the star's size, temperature, brightness and metallicity...The findings indicate that a significant fraction of the 270 stars observed are larger than previously thought. Since planet sizes are measured relative to the stars, the analysis yields revised planet properties as well. The size estimates of many of the [associated] planets...have increased. This is yet another example illustrating the importance of stellar spectroscopy for fine-tuning the properties of Kepler planet candidates.

Read the full update.

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