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Proceedings Paper

Kepler system numerical model for the detection of extrasolar terrestrial planets
Author(s): Quinn P. Remund; Steven P. Jordan; Todd F. Updike; Jon M. Jenkins; William J. Borucki
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Paper Abstract

The objective of the NASA Ames Kepler mission is the detection of extrasolar terrestrial-size planets through transit photometry. In an effort to optimize the Kepler system design, Ball Aerospace has developed a numerical photometer model to simulate the sensor as well as stars and hypothetical planetary transits. The model emulates the temporal behavior of the incident light from 100 stars (with various visual magnitudes) on one CCD of the Kepler focal plane array. Simulated transits are inserted into the light curves of the stars for transit detection signal-to-noise ratio analyses. The Kepler photometer model simulates all significant CCD characteristics such as dark current, shot noise, read out noise, residual non-uniformity, intrapixel gain variation, charge spill over, well capacity, spectral response, charge transfer efficiency, read out smearing, and others. The noise effects resulting from background stars are also considered. The optical system is also simulated to accurately estimate system optical point spread functions and optical attenuation. In addition, spacecraft pointing and jitter are incorporated. The model includes on-board processing effects such as analog-to-digital conversion, photometric aperture extraction, and 15-minute frame co-addition. Results from the model exhibit good agreement with NASA Ames lab data and are used in subsequent signal-to-noise ratio analyses to assess the transit detection capability. The reported simulations are run using system requirements rather than predicted performance to guarantee that mission science objectives can be attained. The Kepler Photometer Model has given substantial insight into the Kepler system design by offering a straightforward means of assessing system design impacts on the ability to detect planetary transits. It is used as one of the various tools for the establishment of system requirements to ensure mission success.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 February 2002
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4495, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology IV, (5 February 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.454773
Show Author Affiliations
Quinn P. Remund, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Steven P. Jordan, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Todd F. Updike, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Jon M. Jenkins, SETI Institute (United States)
William J. Borucki, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4495:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology IV
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Roland R. Paepe; Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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