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Proceedings Paper

Kepler: a space mission to detect earth-class exoplanets
Author(s): David G. Koch; William J. Borucki; Larry Webster; Edward W. Dunham; Jon M. Jenkins; John Marriott; Harold J. Reitsema
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Paper Abstract

With the detection of giant extrasolar planets and the quest for life on Mars, there is heightened interset in finding earth-class planets, those that are less than ten earth masses and might be life supporting. A space-based photometer has the ability to detect the periodic transits of earth-class planets for a wide variety of spectral types of stars. From the data and known type of host star, the orbital semi-major axis, size and characteristic temperature of each planet can be calculated. The frequency of planet formation with respect to spectral type and occurrence for both singular and multiple-stellar systems can be determined. A description is presented of a one-meter aperture photometer with a twelve-degree field of view and a focal plane of 21 CCDs. The photometer woudl continuously and simultaneously monitor 160,000 stars of visual magnitude <EQ 14. Its one-sigma system sensitivity for a transit of a 12th magnitude solar-like star by a planet of one-earth radius would be one part in 50,000. It is anticipated that about 480 earth-class planets would be detected along with 140 giant planets in transit and 1400 giant planets by reflected light. Densities could be derived for about seven case where the planet is seen in transit and radial velocities are measurable.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 August 1998
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3356, Space Telescopes and Instruments V, (28 August 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.324482
Show Author Affiliations
David G. Koch, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
William J. Borucki, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Larry Webster, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Edward W. Dunham, Lowell Observatory (United States)
Jon M. Jenkins, SETI Institute (United States)
John Marriott, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Harold J. Reitsema, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3356:
Space Telescopes and Instruments V
Pierre Y. Bely; James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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