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Proceedings Paper

The Kepler mission's focal plane
Author(s): Edward W. Dunham; John C. Geary; Robert H. Philbrick; Christopher K. Stewart; David G. Koch
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Paper Abstract

The primary goal of Kepler, a recently selected Discovery mission, is to search for terrestrial size planets orbiting other stars using the transit method. To accomplish this goal, a space-based photometer is being developed that employs a 0.95-meter Schmidt camera incorporating a large focal plane array (FPA). The FPA is populated with 42 large format custom CCD detectors with integral field flattening optics covering a 100 square degree field of view. The FPA will measure the precise relative intensity of approximately 100,000 main sequence stars nearly continuously over the mission's 4-year lifetime to search for the small changes caused by planetary transits. All critical electronics are housed immediately behind the FPA, which yields a low noise compact design that is both robust and fault tolerant. The design and development of the FPA, its detectors, its main systems issues, and their relationship to photometric precision will be discussed along with results from detailed performance models.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 February 2003
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4854, Future EUV/UV and Visible Space Astrophysics Missions and Instrumentation, (24 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.460265
Show Author Affiliations
Edward W. Dunham, Lowell Observatory (United States)
John C. Geary, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Robert H. Philbrick, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Christopher K. Stewart, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
David G. Koch, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4854:
Future EUV/UV and Visible Space Astrophysics Missions and Instrumentation
J. Chris Blades; Oswald H. W. Siegmund, Editor(s)

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