Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
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Kepler has a parabolic dish antenna fixed to its body. There are many possible designs of transmitting devices. For spacecraft, parabolic dish antennas are preferred, because they have the least attenuation for radio waves with distance. But dish antennas must be pointed to the receiver. The Kepler telescope was over-budget for a Discovery-class mission, ...


11

Initially, Kepler was slated to go to L2. However, when preparing Spitzer, NASA found that a heliocentric, Earth-trailing orbit takes less propellant to reach than L2. For Spitzer, this enabled the switch to a smaller launcher. This finding also applies to Kepler.


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Kepler has a 16 GigaByte synchronous dynamic random access memory solid-state recorder, so that would be a kind of DRAM. However, note that this is not the processor's main memory. The RAD750 used in Kepler is a 32-Bit processor, and wouldn't be able to address 16 GB of main memory. In practice, memory for RAD750-based systems is more in the range of 128 MB ...


8

From here: The age of the exoplanet is not independently derived, but instead, taken from the age of the host star. So how do they calculate the age of the host star? Wikipedia has a number of methods: As stars grow older, their luminosity increases at an appreciable rate. Given the mass of the star, one can use this rate of increase in luminosity in ...


7

Why would Kepler rotate towards Earth instead having an antenna always directed to Earth? There was no need to always have an antenna pointed directly at the Earth because communication with the Earth was infrequent, less than eight hours per month. There are a lot more deep space assets than there are receivers to communicate with those assets. The ...


7

Section 4.1 on page 8 of the original report on the phenomenon discards this possibility, albeit indirectly: The Kepler light curve for KIC 8462852 is unique, and we have thoroughly explored the raw data for defects/instrumental effects, which could cause the observed variations in KIC 8462852’s flux. We use the P Y K E software tools for Kepler ...


7

Kepler rolled between the quarter dates found at this site. At first glance, they don't seem to correlate, although I need to do more work to actually line it up. As Kepler rolls the data between data releases, it's possible to look at whole datasets, and see if they occur at a common point in the cycle. I can tell you the following: A dip occurred at the ...


6

As Russell Borogove already noted, the NASA video in your question describes a classical horseshoe orbit. Whether that's a correct description of Kepler's actual orbit is another matter, which I will address below. However, in any case, the animation shown starting at about 0:27 in the video does not illustrate a typical "horseshoe bounce" interaction. As ...


6

Kepler's is a horseshoe orbit: A horseshoe orbit is a type of co-orbital motion of a small orbiting body relative to a larger orbiting body (such as Earth). The orbital period of the smaller body is very nearly the same as for the larger body, and its path appears to have a horseshoe shape as viewed from the larger object in a rotating reference frame. ...


5

Here's yesterday's media briefing (audio stream) that explains what this announcement is all about, on top of already linked to news article. Many other links are available on Kepler Planet Bonanza press kit, including presentation slides (PDF, 27MB warning!). The table of confirmed planets is published on Kepler pages, including planet characteristics, ...


4

Kepler has 16 GB of memory. Is this DRAM? Yes and no. The yes part: It's SDRAM. The no part: It's not the computer's main memory. It's instead the equivalent of a tape recorder, only using solid state technology instead of moving parts. That solid state data recorder is used to record the data gathered by Kepler's sensors in between intermittent downloads ...


4

Kepler has successfully completed its three and half year primary mission. And even if two of its four reaction wheels are beyond help: It's possible Kepler could still gather valuable data by switching to a scanning mode, as opposed to the "point and stare" operations that defined its first four years in space. If neither failed reaction wheel is ...


4

Kepler detected a light signature on the star (KIC 8462852) that was very unusual. The light from the star appears to be blocked by something, which the amount varies, by up to 20% of the light being blocked. The frequency of the blockage is irregular. This means that there must be a very large amount of small objects inside of that system. There are ...


3

This table gives an overview of possible explanations of the different aspects of anomalies that an artificial superstructure might cause:


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There is a list of confirmed planets, but this does not identify which planets were confirmed by the Lissauer and Rowe teams. Their papers (Lissauer, Rowe (large PDFs)) don't identify all of the planets they've confirmed. This presentation (pdf) says that 4 planets are in the habitable zone.


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Ok, I've done some more research and found a good review article by Sara Seager: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/35/12634.full.pdf Here is my understanding: Near future: The TESS (transiting exoplanet surveying satellite) will discover a large number of exoplanets using the transiting technique (like kepler). Some of these may be good candidates for ...


1

JWST is designed to do that. Kepler is biased towards large planets close to their star. Those are (thought thought) not suitable for life, thus TESS and WFIRST are designed specifically to look for smaller worlds that in the habitable zone. JWST and TESS are scheduled to be launched just a year apart (2018 & 2017 respectively) with WFIRST scheduled ...


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