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Thread: The Kepler Mission

  1. #31
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    Help me spin the Earth faster so Friday gets here sooner!
    You might want Superman to help with that.

  2. #32
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    Cloned links:

    NASA Kepler Mission
    NASA Kepler Mission News
    NASA Kepler Mission: About
    NASA Discovery Mission: Kepler
    NASA JPL PlanetQuest: Kepler
    NASA Kepler Mission Twitter
    NASA Launch Schedule
    Wikipedia: Kepler Mission
    Ball Aerospace: Kepler Mission
    University of Colorado: Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
    SETI Institute: The Kepler Mission: Looking for Earth-sized Worlds
    NASA TV (or NASA TV Yahoo! source or high-resolution)

    ===

    NASA Kepler Mission: Goals and Objectives:

    Goal 1: Determine the frequency of terrestrial and larger planets in or near the habitable zone of a wide variety of spectral types of stars.

    Goal 2: Determine the distributions of sizes and orbital semi-major axes of these planets.

    Goal 3: Estimate the frequency of planets and orbital distribution of planets in multiple-stellar systems.

    Goal 4: Determine the distributions of semi-major axis, albedo, size, mass and density of short-period giant planets

    Goal 5: Identify additional members of each photometrically discovered planetary system using complementary techniques.

    Goal 6: Determine the properties of those stars that harbor planetary systems.
    ===

    NASA Kepler Mission News

    The Kepler spacecraft and its Delta II rocket have been cleared to launch into space late Friday night following a thorough review by launch managers Monday.

    Liftoff is scheduled for 10:49 p.m. EST.
    Tentative Launch target:

    2009 March 6, 1949 PST, Friday
    2009 March 6, 2249 EST, Friday
    2009 March 7, 0349 UTC, Saturday

    3 days and 4 hours to launch
    Last edited by 01101001; 2009-Mar-09 at 06:34 AM. Reason: add NASA TV links
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  3. #33
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    I was thinking about this in class today, would Kepler be able to detect a variation in front of Betelgeuse caused by and Earth sized planet? (Whether it will or won't look at Betelgeuse during it mission isn't really my interest at the moment, I'm just curious if it could.)

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horror Vacui View Post
    I was thinking about this in class today, would Kepler be able to detect a variation in front of Betelgeuse caused by and Earth sized planet? (Whether it will or won't look at Betelgeuse during it mission isn't really my interest at the moment, I'm just curious if it could.)
    I'm just making an educated guess here but I would think Betelgeuse is just too troublesome for Kepler's photometers. Red giants like Betelgeuse start going a bit crazy and have too many variations in brightness, I think it has a period of 6 years and a period of 150 days and a period of 30 days all super imposed over each other. Anyway if there was an alien civilization out there orbiting Betelgeuse it has long since come to its end. The real search is to find an Earth like planet around a yellow dwarf star like our Sun. Btw Kepler is looking in Cygnus where there are a high number of yellow dwarf stars

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horror Vacui View Post
    I was thinking about this in class today, would Kepler be able to detect a variation in front of Betelgeuse caused by and Earth sized planet?
    Doubt it. They're looking at transits dimming the sun-like stars only on the order of 10 times more than normal variability might produce. I'd expect a giant star, having so many times the area, would also have many times the normal variability, and might swamp out the effect of a small transiting planet.

    Kepler Mission FAQ

    Yes, the stars do vary in brightness all the time. In fact it is almost impossible to make a perfectly constant source of light. Fortunately, the stars we are most interested in are stars like our Sun. These are the most commonly seen dwarf stars and vary less than the change in brightness caused by an Earth-size planetary transit on the same time scale as a transit.
    [...]
    Planetary transits have durations of a few hours to less than a day. The measured solar variability on this time scale is 1 part 100,000 (10 ppm) as compare to an Earth-size transit of 1 part in 12,000 (80 ppm).
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  6. #36
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    Right on, thanks guys.

  7. #37
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    size matters

    Could Kepler detect the transit of an Earth-sized planet
    in front of Betelgeuse? People have already brought up
    the issue of Betelgeuse's variability. There's another
    problem, too: size.

    If the Earth transits the Sun, it will block a fraction of
    the Sun's light (R_earth/R_sun)^2 = 8 x 10^(-5).
    That's just a bit less than 1 part in 10,000. Kepler
    has a good chance to detect such transits in front of
    stars down to apparent mag V=12.

    If the Earth transits Betelgeuse, it will block a fraction
    of the light (R_earth/R_betelgeuse)^2 = 1 x 10^(-10).
    That signal is far too small for Kepler to detect.

  8. #38
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    Oh thanks so much Stupendous. That's an even better answer than what they gave me (although I definitely learned something from them too). I figured that even without variations in luminosity from Betelgeuse, that size would be way too much of a factor. Thanks again!

  9. #39
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    About 57 hours to launch

    NASA Kepler Mission News

    Pre-launch briefing:

    Press Conference/Science Briefing
    NASA officials and members of the Kepler launch team will discuss Kepler's mission and launch readiness during a press conference beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday. Ed Weiler, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, heads the panel that also includes Launch Director Omar Baez. A science briefing by the researchers who will analyze the Kepler's findings will follow the press conference. Both events will be televised on NASA TV.
    Watch Pre-launch Press Conference on NASA TV [1000 PST; 1300 EST; 1800 UTC]
    NASA TV Schedule (times EST)

    March 5, Thursday
    11:30 a.m. - Webcast -- "Kepler: Searching for other Earths" - KSC (Education Channel)
    1 p.m. - Kepler Mission Pre-Launch Science Briefing - KSC (Public and Media Channels)
    NASA TV (or NASA TV Yahoo! source or high-resolution)

    Launch target:

    2009 March 6, 1949 PST, Friday
    2009 March 6, 2249 EST, Friday
    2009 March 7, 0349 UTC, Saturday

    2 days and 9 hours to launch
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  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horror Vacui View Post
    Oh thanks so much Stupendous. That's an even better answer than what they gave me (although I definitely learned something from them too). I figured that even without variations in luminosity from Betelgeuse, that size would be way too much of a factor. Thanks again!
    Yes, Stupendous gave an excellent scientific answer.

    Cygnus is toward plane of Milky Way Galaxy, so chances are, they'll find a lot of stars (G type) like sun . They will be monitoring the brightness of 100,000 simultaneously. BTW: even if they find a earth size planet around a red giant, boring... Life would be unlikely to sustain on such a star system. So while they're doing it, they did it right and designed the mission to focus on sun-like stars. That way, when they discover solar systems, they will be solar system in the sense of our own, and we'll see the parallels including possibly earth-type life. They'll probably go back to those in 2015 with terrestrial planet finder and look for molecules of life in their atmospheres.

  11. #41
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    24 hours to launch

    NASA Kepler Mission News

    Kepler Countdown Clock

    1 : 00 : 00 : 00
    Launch target:

    2009 March 6, 1949 PST, Friday
    2009 March 6, 2249 EST, Friday
    2009 March 7, 0349 UTC, Saturday

    24 hours to launch
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  12. #42
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    From NASA.gov
    The Kepler spacecraft and its Delta II rocket are "go" for a launch tonight that is expected to light up the sky along Florida's Space Coast at 10:49 p.m. EST as the rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Weather predictions remain good, with a 95 percent chance of favorable conditions at launch time and a temperature of 64 degrees.
    07:05:10
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  13. #43
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    7 hours to launch

    NASA TV Schedule (times EST)

    March 6, Friday

    8:30 p.m. - Kepler Mission Launch Coverage (launch is scheduled for 10:49 p.m ET.) - KSC (All Channels)
    Begins about 2 hours 20 minutes before launch.

    NASA TV (or NASA TV Yahoo! source or high-resolution)
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  14. #44
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    Dear Kepler!

    Bon Voyage, Dear Kepler!

    This is it! It's been a long time a-coming!

    You too, are our eyes to the Universe, for now.

    Keep Safe. Fly Safe. Keep In Touch.

  15. #45
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    4 hours to launch

    The BA will be tweeting his own live coverage of the launch. BA Twitter

    NASA Kepler Twitter

    NASA Kepler Mission News: Five things about Kepler:

    -- Kepler is the world's first mission with the ability to find true Earth analogs -- planets that orbit stars like our sun in the "habitable zone." The habitable zone is the region around a star where the temperature is just right for water -- an essential ingredient for life as we know it -- to pool on a planet's surface.

    -- By the end of Kepler's three-and-one-half-year mission, it will give us a good idea of how common or rare other Earths are in our Milky Way galaxy. This will be an important step in answering the age-old question: Are we alone?

    -- Kepler detects planets by looking for periodic dips in the brightness of stars. Some planets pass in front of their stars as seen from our point of view on Earth; when they do, they cause their stars to dim slightly, an event Kepler can see.

    -- Kepler has the largest camera ever launched into space, a 95-megapixel array of charge-coupled devices, or CCDs, like those in everyday digital cameras.

    -- Kepler's telescope is so powerful that, from its view up in space, it could detect one person in a small town turning off a porch light at night.
    Launch target remains:

    2009 March 6, 1949 PST, Friday
    2009 March 6, 2249 EST, Friday
    2009 March 7, 0349 UTC, Saturday

    4 hours to launch
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  16. #46
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    120 minutes to launch

    NASA TV coverage of the Kepler launch has begun.

    For me video started with a multi-minute "commercial" for the Launch Services Program (LSP) before the live coverage commenced -- and the Yahoo and high-res feeds don't work for me this time around; maybe the commercial broke them.

    NASA TV (or NASA TV Yahoo! source or high-resolution)

    Kepler Launch Blog

    2 hours to launch
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  17. #47
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    Blog says weather is 100% go.

    With temperatures in the mid-to-upper 60s and no winds or rain expected between now and launch time, NASA’s weather forecast remains at 100 percent chance of acceptable conditions. The launch team will conduct a readiness poll before going ahead with loading the liquid oxygen.
    Tried Yahoo and high-res feeds again and they worked. But, the high-res feed was providing different (but Kepler-related) material. No LSP commercial on the second tries.
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  18. #48
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    60 minutes to launch

    Liquid oxygen tank filled.



    60 minutes to launch
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  19. #49
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    How deep into space will Kepler be able to detect Earth-like planets? Did I get the correct impression that it will only look at a small area about the size of a hand at arms length?

    t minus 15 min and COUNTING!

  20. #50
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    How deep into space will Kepler be able to detect Earth-like planets?
    I don't know the exact distance but this Image http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LombergA1024.jpg on Wiki, displays the area it will look in (~3,000 LY).

  21. #51
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    12 minutes to launch

    Emily Lakdawalla is twittering too.

    Launch clock T - 4 minutes and holding. Built-in hold.

    2009 March 6, 1949 PST, Friday
    2009 March 6, 2249 EST, Friday
    2009 March 7, 0349 UTC, Saturday

    12 minutes to launch.
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  22. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Procyan View Post
    How deep into space will Kepler be able to detect Earth-like planets? Did I get the correct impression that it will only look at a small area about the size of a hand at arms length?
    According to LA Times:

    Most of the stars in its survey are relatively close, from tens of light-years to 3,000 light-years away.
    Hard to tell what the maximum distance might be. Not a whole lot beyond that, I'd expect.
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  23. #53
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    4 minutes

    4 minutes (and counting)
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  24. #54
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    The time to launch clock on the NASA website seems to be about three minutes off.

  25. #55
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    1 minute

    60 seconds
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  26. #56
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    Go



    Liftoff
    Last edited by 01101001; 2009-Mar-07 at 05:45 PM.
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  27. #57
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    T + 3 minutes

    All good
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  28. #58
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    MECO

    2nd stage ignition

    still good
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  29. #59
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    Lost sight of the bird.

    Video is showing my hero, Telemetry Guy, looking at monitors.

    all well at 8 minutes in
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  30. #60
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    SECO 1, on schedule.
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