Presentation Abstract

Presentation Number 101.01
Presentation Time: Monday, Jan 04, 2010, 8:30 AM - 9:20 AM
Title Kepler Planet Detection Mission: Introduction and First Results
Author Block William J. Borucki1, D. Koch1, G. Basri2, N. M. Batalha3, T. Brown4, D. A. Caldwell5, J. Caldwell6, J. Christensen-Dalsgaard7, W. Cochran8, E. DeVore5, E. Dunham9, A. Dupree10, T. Gautier11, J. Geary10, R. Gilliland12, A. Gould13, S. Howell14, J. Jenkins5, H. Kjeldsen7, Y. Kondo15, D. Latham10, J. Lissauer1, G. Marcy2, S. Meibom10, D. Monet16, D. Morrison1, D. Sasselov17, J. Tarter5
1NASA/Ames Research Center, 2University of California, 3San Jose State Universiy, 4Los Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope, 5SETI Institute, 6York University, Canada, 7Aarhus University, Denmark, 8University of Texas, 9Lowell Observatory, 10SAO, 11JPL, 12STScI, 13Lawrence Hall of Science, 14NOAO, 15NASA GSFC, 16US Naval Observatory, 17Harvard.
Abstract The Kepler Mission is designed to determine the frequency of Earth-size and terrestrial size planets in and near the HZ of solar-like stars. It was competitively selected as Discovery Mission #10 and launched on March 6, 2009. Since completion of commissioning, it has continuously observed over 145,000 main sequence stars. The photometric precision reaches 20 ppm for 12th magnitude stars on the least noisy detectors in 6.5 hours. During the first month of operation, the photometer detected transit-like signatures from over 100 stars. Careful examination of these events shows many of them to be false-positives such as background eclipsing binaries. However ground-based follow up observations confirm the discovery of exoplanets with sizes ranging from 0.6 Rj to1.5Rj and orbital periods ranging from 3 to 9 days. Observations at Keck, Hobby-Eberly, Harlan-Smith, WIYN, MMT, Tillighast, Shane, and Nordic Optic telescopes are vetting many of the candidates and measuring their masses. Discovery of the HAT-P7b occultation will be used to derive atmospheric properties and demonstrates the precision necessary to detect Earth-size planets. Asteroseismic analyses of several stars show the presence of p-mode oscillations that can be used to determine stellar size and age. This effort is being organized by the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium at Aarhus University in Denmark. Stellar parallaxes are determined from the centroid motion of the stellar images and will be combined with photometric measurements to get the sizes of stars too dim for asteroseismic measurement. Four open clusters are being observed to determine rotation rates with stellar age and spectral type. Many types of stellar variability are observed with unprecedented precision and over long continuous time periods. Examples of many of these discoveries are presented. Funding by the Exoplanet Exploration Program of the NASA Astrophysics Division is gratefully acknowledged.