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Proceedings Paper

Processing CCD images to detect transits of Earth-sized planets: maximizing sensitivity while achieving reasonable downlink requirements
Author(s): Jon M. Jenkins; Fred C. Witteborn; David G. Koch; Edward W. Dunham; William J. Borucki; Todd F. Updike; Mark A. Skinner; Steven P. Jordan
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Paper Abstract

We have performed end-to-end laboratory and numerical simulations to demonstrate the capability of differential photometry under realistic operating conditions to detect transits of Earth-sized planets orbiting solar-like stars. Data acquisition and processing were conducted using the same methods planned for the proposed Kepler Mission. These included performing aperture photometry on large-format CCD images of an artificial star fields obtained without a shutter at a readout rate of 1 megapixel/sec, detecting and removing cosmic rays from individual exposures and making the necessary corrections for nonlinearity and shutterless operation in the absence of darks. We will discuss the image processing tasks performed `on-board' the simulated spacecraft, which yielded raw photometry and ancillary data used to monitor and correct for systematic effects, and the data processing and analysis tasks conducted to obtain lightcurves from the raw data and characterize the detectability of transits. The laboratory results are discussed along with the results of a numerical simulation carried out in parallel with the laboratory simulation. These two simulations demonstrate that a system-level differential photometric precision of 10-5 on five- hour intervals can be achieved under realistic conditions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 July 2000
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4013, UV, Optical, and IR Space Telescopes and Instruments, (28 July 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.394035
Show Author Affiliations
Jon M. Jenkins, SETI Institute (United States)
Fred C. Witteborn, Orbital Sciences Corp. (United States)
David G. Koch, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Edward W. Dunham, Lowell Observatory (United States)
William J. Borucki, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Todd F. Updike, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Mark A. Skinner, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Steven P. Jordan, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4013:
UV, Optical, and IR Space Telescopes and Instruments
James B. Breckinridge; Peter Jakobsen, Editor(s)

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