Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union

Contributed Papers

Finding Earth-size planets in the habitable zone: the Kepler Mission

William Boruckia1, David Kocha1, Gibor Basria2, Natalie Batalhaa3, Timothy Browna4, Douglas Caldwella5, Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaarda6, William Cochrana7, Edward Dunhama8, Thomas N. Gautiera9, John Gearya10, Ronald Gillilanda11, Jon Jenkinsa5, Yoji Kondoa12, David Lathama10, Jack J. Lissauera1 and David Moneta13

a1 NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA

a2 University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA

a3 San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, 95192, USA

a4 Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope, Golenta, CA 93117, USA

a5 SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA, 94043, USA

a6 University of Aarhus, Denmark

a7 University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 78712, USA

a8 Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001, USA

a9 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, 91109, USA

a10 Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA

a11 Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, 21218, USA

a12 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, 20771, USA

a13 United States Naval Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ, 86002, USA

Abstract

The Kepler Mission is a space-based mission whose primary goal is to detect Earth-size and smaller planets in the habitable zone of solar-like stars. The mission will monitor more than 100,000 stars for transits with a differential photometric precision of 20 ppm at V=12 for a 6.5 hour transit. It will also provide asteroseismic results on several thousand dwarf stars. It is specifically designed to continuously observe a single field of view of greater than 100 square degrees for 3.5 or more years.

This overview describes the mission design, its goals and capabilities, the measured performance for those photometer components that have now been tested, the Kepler Input Catalog, an overview of the analysis pipeline, the plans for the Follow-up Observing Program to validate the detections and characterize the parent stars, and finally, the plans for the Guest Observer and Astrophysical Data Program.

Keywords

  • Planet detection;
  • exoplanets;
  • differential photometry;
  • space-based telescope