Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Additional Kepler data now available to all planet hunters

Date:
October 29, 2012
Source:
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)
Summary:
Twelve additional months worth of planet-searching data meticulously collected by one of the most prolific planet-hunting endeavors ever conceived, NASA's Kepler Mission, has just been released.

The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., is releasing 12 additional months worth of planet-searching data meticulously collected by one of the most prolific planet-hunting endeavors ever conceived, NASA's Kepler Mission.

Related Articles


As of Oct. 28, 2012, every observation from the extrasolar planet survey made by Kepler since its launch in 2009 through June 27, 2012, is available to scientists and the public. This treasure-trove contains more than 16 terabytes of data and is housed at the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes, or MAST, at the Space Telescope Science Institute. MAST is a huge data archive containing astronomical observations from 16 NASA space astronomy missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope. It is named in honor of Maryland U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski.

Over the past three years the Kepler science team has discovered 77 confirmed planets and 2,321 planet candidates. All of Kepler's upcoming observations will be no longer exclusive to the Kepler science team, its guest observers, and its asteroseismology consortium members and will be available immediately to the public.

The objects already discovered may only be the tip of the iceberg. The data store contains clues to the existence of as yet undiscovered planets and a record of stellar behavior of stars near the Sun.

Since its launch, the Kepler spacecraft has stared almost nonstop at more than 150,000 stars in the direction of the summer constellations Cygnus and Lyra. The Kepler mission is operated by NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.

The spacecraft simultaneously measures the variations in brightness of the stars every 30 minutes, searching for periodic dips in a star's brightness that occur when an orbiting planet crosses in front of it and partially blocks the light from its parent star.

These fluctuations are tiny compared with the brightness of the star. For an Earth-size planet transiting a solar-type star, the change in brightness is less than 1/100 of 1 percent. This event is similar to the amount of dimming if a flea were to crawl across a car's headlight viewed from several miles away.

These brightness variations are available in the Kepler inventory. Finding planets requires stellar detective work by repeatedly measuring variations in the brightness of target stars.

In addition to yielding evidence for planets circling some of the target stars, the Kepler data also reveal information about the behavior of many of the other stars being monitored. Kepler astronomers have discovered star spots, flaring stars, double-star systems, and "heartbeat" stars, a class of eccentric binary systems undergoing dynamic tidal distortions and tidally induced pulsations.

There is far more data in the Kepler archives than astronomers have time to analyze quickly. Avid volunteer astronomers are invited to make Kepler discoveries by perusing the archive through a website called "Planet Hunters," (http://www.planethunters.org/). A tutorial informs citizen scientists how to analyze the Kepler data, so they may assist with the research. Visitors to the website cannot actually see individual planets. Instead, they look for the effects of planets as they sweep across the face of their parent stars. Volunteer scientists have analyzed over 14 million observations so far. Just last week citizen scientists announced the discovery of the first planet to be found in a quadruple-star system.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). "Additional Kepler data now available to all planet hunters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121029133542.htm>.
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). (2012, October 29). Additional Kepler data now available to all planet hunters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121029133542.htm
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). "Additional Kepler data now available to all planet hunters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121029133542.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Video Shows Stars If They Were as Close to Earth as Sun

Video Shows Stars If They Were as Close to Earth as Sun

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Russia&apos;s space agency created a video that shows what our sky would look like with different star if they were as close as our sun. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) walks us through the cool video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Retired astronaut and television host, Leland Melvin, snuck his dogs into the NASA studio so they could be in his official photo. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us, the secret is out. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) NASA is remembering 17 astronauts who were killed in the line of duty and dozens more who have died since the agency&apos;s beginning. A remembrance ceremony was held Thursday at NASA&apos;s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) Scientists working with NASA&apos;s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California discovered an unexpected moon while observing asteroid 2004 BL86 during its recent flyby past Earth. Credit to &apos;NASA JPL&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins