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Proceedings Paper

The Kepler mission: a wide-field-of-view photometer designed to determine the frequency of Earth-size planets around solar-like stars
Author(s): William J. Borucki; David G. Koch; Jack J. Lissauer; Gibor B. Basri; John F. Caldwell; William D. Cochran; Edward W. Dunham; John C. Geary; David W. Latham; Ronald L. Gilliland; Douglas A. Caldwell; Jon M. Jenkins; Yoji Kondo
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Paper Abstract

NASA's Kepler Mission is designed to determine the frequency of Earth-size and larger planets in the habitable zone of solar-like stars. It uses transit photometry from space to determine planet size relative to its star and orbital period. From these measurements, and those of complementary ground-based observations of planet-hosting stars, and from Kepler's third law, the actual size of the planet, its position relative to the habitable zone, and the presence of other planets can be deduced. The Kepler photometer is designed around a 0.95 m aperture wide field-of-view (FOV) Schmidt type telescope with a large array of CCD detectors to continuously monitor 100,000 stars in a single FOV for four years. To detect terrestrial planets, the photometer uses differential relative photometry to obtain a precision of 20 ppm for 12th magnitude stars. The combination of the number of stars that must be monitored to get a statistically significant estimate of the frequency of Earth-size planets, the size of Earth with respect to the Sun, the minimum number of photoelectrons required to recognize the transit signal while maintaining a low false-alarm rate, and the areal density of target stars of differing brightness are all critical to the photometer design.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 February 2003
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4854, Future EUV/UV and Visible Space Astrophysics Missions and Instrumentation, (24 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.460266
Show Author Affiliations
William J. Borucki, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
David G. Koch, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Jack J. Lissauer, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Gibor B. Basri, Univ. of California/Berkeley (United States)
John F. Caldwell, York Univ. (Canada)
William D. Cochran, Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Edward W. Dunham, Lowell Observatory (United States)
John C. Geary, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
David W. Latham, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Ronald L. Gilliland, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
Douglas A. Caldwell, SETI Institute (United States)
Jon M. Jenkins, SETI Institute (United States)
Yoji Kondo, NASA Goddard Space Flight 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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