28 August 1998 Kepler: a space mission to detect earth-class exoplanets
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With the detection of giant extrasolar planets and the quest for life on Mars, there is heightened interset in finding earth-class planets, those that are less than ten earth masses and might be life supporting. A space-based photometer has the ability to detect the periodic transits of earth-class planets for a wide variety of spectral types of stars. From the data and known type of host star, the orbital semi-major axis, size and characteristic temperature of each planet can be calculated. The frequency of planet formation with respect to spectral type and occurrence for both singular and multiple-stellar systems can be determined. A description is presented of a one-meter aperture photometer with a twelve-degree field of view and a focal plane of 21 CCDs. The photometer woudl continuously and simultaneously monitor 160,000 stars of visual magnitude <EQ 14. Its one-sigma system sensitivity for a transit of a 12th magnitude solar-like star by a planet of one-earth radius would be one part in 50,000. It is anticipated that about 480 earth-class planets would be detected along with 140 giant planets in transit and 1400 giant planets by reflected light. Densities could be derived for about seven case where the planet is seen in transit and radial velocities are measurable.
© (1998) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
David G. Koch, David G. Koch, William J. Borucki, William J. Borucki, Larry Webster, Larry Webster, Edward W. Dunham, Edward W. Dunham, Jon M. Jenkins, Jon M. Jenkins, John Marriott, John Marriott, Harold J. Reitsema, Harold J. Reitsema, } "Kepler: a space mission to detect earth-class exoplanets", Proc. SPIE 3356, Space Telescopes and Instruments V, (28 August 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.324482; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.324482

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