Posts Tagged ‘ Kepler ’

Come Celebrate Sagan!

 

Today is the launch of Kepler Mission’s celebrations of Carl Sagan’s 76th Birthday, to take place on November 9.

To mark the occasion, essays from the general public and articles by invited guests will be published on a daily basis at Kepler’s website.

Today you will find an essay by Sarah O’Sullivan and a special appearance by Seth Shostak.

It is also there that you will be able to find and original musical piece composed by Lyford Rome expressly to this special event.

Go! There is something incredible waiting to be known!

 

HAT-p-7b and the Grail quest – With Jon Jenkins

jenkins_jon_3_enh11I went to bed the evening of May 13th exhausted from the long, intense campaign of commissioning the Kepler spacecraft. The long march started about a week after launch when we began to receive data from the photometer and needed to process it to verify that it was behaving as we expected and to prepare all the data products needed for nominal science operations. These included taking very special data sets to characterize the 2D bias frame of the CCDs (the image you get with no light falling on the detectors), the noise characteristics, the sky to pixel mapping, the science data compression tables, and the detailed shape of the stellar images (the Point Spread Functions) across the focal plane. We had been calculating the PSFs and getting our first science target tables together while the Combined Differential Photometric Precision (CDPP) data set was being collected during the last ten days of Commissioning. This was the first science-like data to be collected. So we had a target table in place with 52,496 targets and were compressing the 30-minute samples for each pixel of interest and storing these on board the Solid State Recorder. (During nominal science operations we collect pixel data for ~145,000 stars.) On Monday May 11 we turned the spacecraft to point the High Gain Antenna to Earth and downlinked the CDPP data set, all ten days of it, to the Deep Space Network, who transferred it through our Ground System* to the Science Operations Center at NASA Ames Research Center where we process the pixels, extract the photometric light curves and search for transiting planets. Nominal science operations commenced on May 12 and we could turn our attention to processing the CDPP data.

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HAT-p-7b confirmation and many great things to come – With Natalie Batalha

 

August 5, 2009 

Exactly five months after the launch of the Kepler spacecraft, NASA will hold a press conference to present early science results.  Early science results.  I linger over those words with great pleasure.  It isn’t sufficient to simply write about the science or even comment on the mood of the science team at Ames during the days when they examined that first data transmittal.  I must rewind a bit, for there is a story here to be told.  

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Kepler mission – stellar smear and a grain of salt

After yesterday’s release of Kepler’s first light images and being marvelled by the telescope’s full field of view I was here wondering how would look one of the several raw images composing that breathtaking view into a sea of stars.

And, now that we’re into the real stuff and aware that we won’t hear of an Earth-like planet until the team has full confirmation, for when, hipotetically, could we expect one of those candidates to make its first appearance? How soon can it be?

Natalie Batalha answers:

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Kepler mission – It’s full of stars!

Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

Here’s what you have been waiting for, NASA Kepler’s full field of view – an expansive star-rich patch of sky in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra stretching across 100 square degrees, or the equivalent of two side-by-side dips of the Big Dipper.

And now let us stay with Jon Jenkins, Kepler’s Co-Investigator:

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Planet-Hunting Kepler Telescope Lifts Its Lid – With Edna DeVore

The hunt is on. The Kepler spacecraft opened to the universe this week and is getting set to search for Earth-size planets around distant stars. Perhaps we’ll find a home for E.T. I’m simply thrilled that this critical next step went off without a hitch.

On Tuesday evening, the Kepler spacecraft blew its lid. Well, actually it was a lot calmer than that; the cover was ejected in a carefully engineering maneuver.

At 7:13:36 PM, engineers at Kepler’s mission operations center at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), Boulder, Colo., sent commands to pass an electrical current through a “burn wire” to break the wire and release a latch holding the cover closed. The spring-loaded cover swung open on a fly-away hinge, and then drifted away from the spacecraft.

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Kepler’s Prima Lux – A Human Endeavor – With Natalie Batalha

Kepler’s first light also marks, for Beyond the Cradle, the arrival of a very special collaborator, someone who, I am sure, will be capable of taking us, with her passion, on great journeys towards the worlds to come. It is with great joy that I open BtC’s doors to Natalie Batalha, Kepler Co-Investigator (to know more about Natalie visit the Collaborators page):

 

We received word on Monday afternoon:  

Team,

 

The reviews conducted to ascertain readiness for the ejection of the cover on the Kepler photometer are finished. We now have permission to move the photometer axis into the ecliptic plane and eject the cover…

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Prima Lux

We have First Light.

 

Kepler has, 1 month and 1 day after launch, opened its eyes to the worlds ahead and, as an unavoidable, desired, consequence, it will reveal us the beacons in the horizon, the beacons in between the Swan and the Lyre signaling a new era.

We had once more, as in other bifurcations in the history of our evolution, two choices at our disposal, to stay or to walk. We have chosen to move onwards, in the only possible direction, leaving the shadow and heading into the light.   

From here on blinds have been open for Mankind, child of the galaxy, to look beyond our common cradle and to discover that there are other Earths with other Suns nurturing them. Kepler as finally opened its eyes in the direction of the stars in the image above, an image inhabited by our dreams, questions and futures odysseys. 

From here on, throughout the Milky Way, the planets like our beloved Terra are ours to sight, to discover, to learn about and, when time dictates it, to venture into.  

The new worlds are there, in the distance, waiting for us.   

 

More details to follow.

Kepler Mission – Pre Prima Lux update – With Jon Jenkins

Time zones always provide us with curious situations…I’ve e-mailed Jon Jenkins yesterday, just before going off to my own safe mode over the pillows and under the sheets, so I have just read the answer after seing our own star shining above the hills…

Jon’s first words left me thinking that we would have to wait a little longer until Kepler open its own eyes and stare to myriads of stars, but read a little further ahead…I did it and a smile made an appearance in my face…

We get some some precious details about how things will work after First Light and…if all goes well…it looks like today it will be a day to remember…

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Kepler Mission at Around the World in 80 Telescopes – With Natalie Batalha

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Missed it? Don’t  do it again…

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