AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 33 Instrumentation: Ground-Based and Space-Based
Oral, Monday, January 10, 2005, 10:00-11:30am, Royal Palm 1-3

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[33.05] Opportunities for High Precision Photometric Measurements of Variable Stars: Kepler Guest Investigator Program

W. J. Borucki, D. G. Koch (NASA Ames Research Center), G. S. Basri (Univ. Calif., Berkeley), D. W. Latham (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), S. B. Howell (NOAO, Tucson, AZ)

The Kepler Mission is designed to detect terrestrial planets by monitoring the flux of more than 100,000 dwarf stars for a period of four years at a cadence of 4/hour. During the early portion of the mission when the telemetry rate is high, approximately 170,000 stars will be monitored. The photometric precision for 6.5-hour integration periods will be 20 ppm to 89 ppm for 12th to 15th magnitude stars, respectively. Prior to the launch, multiband photometry of all target stars will be made to estimate spectral type, brightness temperature, and luminosity class. To the extent possible, the initial target list will exclude evolved stars and those known to be variable. Sometime after the first year, the target list will be trimmed by removing those stars found to be too variable to detect planets unless requests for continued observations are received from the stellar astrophysics community. A Guest Observer program is being developed to accommodate those wishing to observe targets in the 140 square degree Kepler field of view centered at RA 19h 22m 40s, Dec +44 30. A webtool is available to assess whether your favorite object is on the Kepler detectors. This program represents an unprecedented opportunity to obtain extremely high precision photometry over very long (typically 3 month) intervals with almost continuous coverage. At any given time there will be 2000-3000 Guest Observer targets (a few of which can be observed with a one-minute cadence).


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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.