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Stargazing Kepler Telescope is so productive?

  1. Feb 21, 2009 #1
    Arccording to Nasa, the Kepler telescope will be working for 3.5 years in orbit and during that time it will observe about 100000 stars looking for exoplanets. Howcome it can finish for that workload?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    If you could only look at one star at a time (not true), this works out to 20 minutes per star. If you can look at 100 stars at once, that's one day per star field. 1000 stars? A week. This doesn't sound unreasonable.
  4. Feb 21, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the reply.
    I am still confused that when focussing at one star, the Kepler Telescope should maitain the position for at least one period of a transit (if there is one), and the period is offen of months if not years.
    One more thing, if K. telescope looks at 100 stars at once, is it possible to detect any wink in one individual star?
  5. Feb 21, 2009 #4


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    By transit do you mean revolution? Transits only last hours, while revolutions are on the order of months and years.
  6. Feb 21, 2009 #5
    You're right, transits can be very short, minutes or hours...
    Still how can it look at 100 stars at the same time and detect winks in individual stars?
  7. Feb 21, 2009 #6
    I don't think Kepler is designed to focus on individual stars, but rather has at larger field viewing area and measures the brightness of the stars in that field.
  8. Feb 21, 2009 #7


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    Sounds to me like it's going to stare at the same patch of sky for the entire mission. Thus, any planets with an orbital period of up to 3 years have a decent chance of being detected.

    It's relatively trivial to single out the individual stars from the images and to monitor their brightnesses over time; just imagine a picture every 15 minutes of the entire star field. It would be fairly easy to note when a star's brightness changes. (Not to our eyes, but you get the idea)

    Link: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/overview/index.html
  9. Feb 21, 2009 #8

    D H

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    Simple: It looks at 100,000 stars all at once and looks at the same 100,000 stars during the entire 3 1/2 year mission. Kepler is looking for transits, so catching one requires continual monitoring.
  10. Feb 21, 2009 #9
    OK, I have just found it out. As D H explains, K T looks at the region of 100,000 stars continuously for at least 3.5 years and the thing is that it has very powerful CCDs which consist of 95 Megapixels.
    Thanks all for the help.
  11. Feb 22, 2009 #10
    And remember, Kepler is just the viewing tool. There are Earth-bound computers that go through the difficult task of reviewing every one of those stars. So while Kepler is working for 3.5 years, it will keep scientists busy for years afterwards.
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