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The K2 Campaign 3 Science Program and Target List is now online
Dec 15, 2014

Campaign 3 began on Nov 14, 2014 and will run until Feb 6, 2015. Campaign 3 proposals were reviewed alongside proposals for Campaign 2. There were 71 programs with selected targets in Campaign 3. The Campaign 3 target list consists of 16,375 standard long cadence and 55 standard short cadence targets. In addition we have included large pixel masks over dwarf planet (225088) 2007 OR10, the planet Neptune and its moon Nereid. We will observe approximately 20 days either side of the stationary point of Neptune in short cadence. The science program and target list are available online.

The K2 Cycle 2 Step-1 Proposals are due mid-January
Dec 15, 2014

Campaigns 6 and 7 will be reviewed together as part of Cycle 2 of the K2 Guest Observer Program. Campaign 6 observations will run from June to October, 2014 and Campaign 7 will run from October to December, 2015. The deadline to submit Step-1 proposals for K2 Campaigns 6 and 7 is Jan 16, 2015. Only proposers who submit a Step-1 proposal will be eligible to submit a Step-2 (full) proposal. Proposals should be submitted via the NSPIRES system. For those of you with US affiliations we remind you that your organization submits the proposal so you will need to build that into your planned submission timeline. All non-US proposals should affiliate with the Kepler Guest Observer Office within NSPIRES. The Step-1 proposal should identify the PI and all funded Co-Is on the proposal. The Scientific/Technical/Management section of the Step-1 proposal is restricted to one page in length. No evaluation of intrinsic merit will be done on Step-1 proposals and no target lists are required. The announcement of opportunity and proposal instructions are available at the Kepler Science Center website. The Step-2 deadline is Feb 27, 2015.

DELIVERY OF K2 CAMPAIGN 0 -- DATA RELEASE 2
NOV 6, 2014

The Kepler Project has redelivered the K2 Campaign 0 (C0) pixel level data to the MAST. These data were processed and exported in order to fix a defect in the originally delivered files of the C0 data where all the calibrated pixels were not included in the exported files. This delivery also corrects errors that were present in the WCS information provided in the headers of the Data Release 1 target pixel files. See the C0 Release Notes for more information about the data and how it was processed by the Kepler Pipeline. We recommend that all users of the C0 data now use Data Release 2. To access these new data simply re-download the files from MAST .

THE KEPLER AND K2 MISSIONS ARE HIRING SUPPORT SCIENTISTS
SEP 16, 2014

NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions deliver high-precision, space-borne photometry to a broad community encompassing exoplanet science, stellar astrophysics, extragalactic physics and solar system science. The Kepler Science Center is looking to fill two positions within the Kepler and K2 Guest Observer (GO) Office. Responsibilities of the GO Office are to facilitate community competition for future K2 targets, develop observing programs for K2 campaigns, provide an interface between mission operations and the community, and provide technical support to the community for scientific exploitation of data. Further details of the GO Office’s activities can be found here.

Support Scientists will be encouraged to develop an independent astronomical research program. Ideally, this research would involve active collaboration with Kepler and K2 community scientists and other Kepler Science Center staff. The Kepler Science Center is located at NASA Ames Research Center, situated in Mountain View, California.

Qualifications: PhD in astronomy or a related discipline; broad understanding of astronomical and/or exoplanet science; recent research publications; and excellent communication skills. Additional desirable experience includes photometric CCD data analysis skills, software tool development, and web page development. Suitable candidates will have research interests that align with the Kepler and K2 science communities. Experience in a science support role and/or direct experience with Kepler data is beneficial, but not essential. These jobs will entail significant travel in support of the GO community.

The positions are funded through a cooperative agreement between NASA and the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute. To apply send a CV, a list of three academic references, and a summary of current and ongoing research plans (maximum of 3 pages in length) to Mark Sittloh at admin@baeri.org. Applications received by December 6, 2014 will receive full consideration. The full job advertisement will appear at the AAS Job Register on Oct 1, 2014.

DR. TOM BARCLAY IS NAMED DIRECTOR OF THE KEPLER AND K2 MISSION GUEST OBSERVER OFFICE
SEP 16, 2014

Dr. Tom Barclay is currently transitioning into his new role as the Director of the Kepler and K2 Mission Guest Observer Office. Under the direction of Tom, the Office will continue to be responsible for developing community proposal calls and target reviews for the K2 mission. The Office also provides scientific and technical support to the community through the Kepler Science Center Help Desk for working with archival data from both the Kepler and K2 missions. Dr. Barclay and his team will also continue to support open source development of community software to enhance output from Kepler and K2 archive products. Previously, Tom had served as a staff scientist in the Kepler Guest Observer Office, and was selected from a highly competitive field for his specialized skill set and significant scientific contributions. He has published numerous scientific papers since joining the Kepler Science Center and is an active and respected member of the Kepler community. Tom holds a B.S. degree in Physics and Astrophysics from the University of Leeds, an M.S. degree in Astronomy and Radio Astronomy from the University of Manchester, and a PhD in Astrophysics from University College London. He is uniquely qualified to ensure the optimal use of Kepler and K2 data in order to advance discovery in the fields of exoplanet science, stellar astrophysics and extragalactic astronomy.

K2 CYCLE-1 STAGE-2 GUEST OBSERVER PROPOSAL DEADLINE IS SEP 23
SEP 16, 2014

This is a quick reminder that the deadline for K2 Cycle-1 Stage-2 GO proposals is 23:59pm EDT on Sep 23.

K2 CAMPAIGN 0 DATA DELIVERED TO THE MAST ARCHIVE
SEP 9, 2014

All Campaign 0 target pixel files are now available to the K2 community from the Archive Data Search and Retrieval page at MAST. Campaign 0 covers the period Mar 8 to May 30, 2014 with a field of view centered upon RA = 06:33:11.1 Dec = +21:35:16 (J2000), observing a section of the galactic plane, M35 and NGC 2158. No light curve products from Campaign 0 will be delivered to the archive at this time. Data Release Notes document the features and quality of the Campaign 0 data. The scientific data collected during Campaign 0 is summarized in the list of guest investigations.

NEW PYKE TOOLS AVAILABLE FOR K2 DATA REDUCTION
SEP 9, 2014

No pipeline-derived light curves will be archived alongside the K2 Campaign 0 target pixels files. With the public release of pre-Campaign 0 engineering data in Mar 2014, we asked the community to develop an appreciation of K2 data quality and systematics, and provide solutions to the data reduction challenges ahead for K2 users. One such solution has been delivered by Vanderburg and Johnson (2014), based upon fixed-aperture photometry and motion-correlated flux correction. We have implemented this functionality within a new PyKE tool called kepsff. A full example, extracting and correcting data from a target pixel file using this method, is provided as Walkthrough E within the PyKE example scripts. An alternative solution is being explored by Jeff Coughlin of the Kepler Science Center using pixel-level Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Proof of concept upon Kepler data was provided in Harrison et al. (2012). We have updated our existing PCA tool, keppca based upon Jeff's current development version. Finally, on request, we have provided kepimages, a simple tool that converts the archived Target Pixel Files into a series of individual FITS image files - format-ready for many of the existing CCD photometry packages that the K2 community are already expert users of.

K2 FIELD 9 LOCATION IS NARROWED DOWN
SEP 01, 2014

The operational boresight coordinates for Campaign 9 have been set approximately to RA = 18:01:25.1 Dec = -21:46:47. These coordinates will likely change by up to 1 arcmin once suitable reference guide stars have been identified. Provisional start and end dates for the campaign are Apr 6-Jun 29, 2016. After community advocacy, the field-of-view has been optimized for a microlensing survey of bound and free-floating planets. In order to take advantage of parallax between the spacecraft and Earth-bound observatories, the boresight will be pointed along the positive-velocity vector, back towards the Earth. Campaign 9 is not exclusive to microlensing science. All viable targets and programs may be proposed through a Guest Observer call to be made during 2015.

K2 FIELDS 6 AND 7 LOCATIONS ARE SET
AUG 24, 2014

The operational boresight coordinates for Campaign 6 have been set at RA = 13:39:27.6 Dec = -11:17:43.0 (J2000). Provisional start and end dates for the campaign are Jul 13-Oct 1, 2015. While a sparse, high-galactic latitude field, The low stellar density is expected to yield among K2's best photometric performance due to the relatively low source confusion probability. The operational boresight coordinates for Campaign 7 have been set at RA = 19:11:18.8 Dec = -23:21:36.0 (J2000). Provisional start and end dates for the campaign are Oct 3-Dec 26, 2015. After community advocacy, the Campaign 7 field-of-view has been optimized for the observation of the 3-Gyr old open cluster Ruprecht 147 at a distance of 300 pc. A NASA Research Announcement requesting proposals for Campaign 6 and 7 targets will be released in the Fall of 2014. The on-silicon predictive tool K2fov has been updated for Campaigns 6 and 7.

SELECTED K2 CAMPAIGN 2 PROGRAMS AND TARGETS ARE ONLINE
AUG 24, 2014

K2 Campaign 2 began on Aug 23, 2014 and will end on Nov 10. The list of targets selected to be observed is now available. A total of 13,399 long cadence targets and 54 short cadence targets are planned to be observed. We thank everyone who submitted a proposal and congratulate the many people who contributed to the 87 proposals with selected targets. All data will be public to all archive users on the day they are ingested at the MAST and will be tagged with an investigation ID that is tied to the proposer. The mapping between proposer and investigation ID is listed along with the science cases for each approved proposal. The data is planned to become available early in 2015.

DEADLINE FOR K2 CYCLE 1 STEP-1 PROPOSALS LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY
AUG 02, 2014

The deadline to submit Step-1 proposals for K2 Campaigns 4 and 5 is Aug 8, 2014. Only proposers who submit a Step-1 proposal will be eligible to submit a Step-2 (full) proposal. Proposals should be submitted via the NSPIRES system, the same system as was used for Kepler GO Cycles. For those of you with US affiliations we remind you that your organization submits the proposal so you will need to build that into your planned submission timeline. All non-US proposals should affiliate with the Kepler Guest Observer Office within NSPIRES. The Step-1 proposal should identify the PI and all funded Co-Is on the proposal. The Scientific/Technical/Management section of the Step-1 proposal is restricted to one page in length. No evaluation of intrinsic merit will be done on Step-1 proposals and no target lists are required. The announcement of opportunity and proposal instructions are available at the Kepler Science Center website. The Step-2 deadline is Sep 23, 2014.

AUG 8 DEADLINE FOR STAGE 1 CAMPAIGN 4 AND CAMPAIGN 5 TARGET PROPOSALS
JUN 25, 2014

The K2 mission requests the participation of the astrophysical community to determine the science content and targets for Campaigns 4 and 5. With the approval of K2 operations and Guest Observer funding through the 2014 Senior Review there are considerable changes to the target proposal procedures. Proposal submission is a 2-stage process, administered by NASA Headquarters and uses the NSPIRES system familiar to Kepler Guest Observers. The Announcement of opportunity and proposal instructions are available at the Kepler Science Center website. The deadline for submitting stage 1 proposals for both campaigns is Aug 8, 2014. The tool K2fov has been updated, enabling proposers to determine whether potential targets fall upon active silicon during each campaign. The Ecliptic Plane Input Catalog (EPIC), for identifying K2 targets, will be updated with sources near fields 4 and 5 during Jul 2014. Target lists will not be required for Stage 1 of the submission process. The Stage 2 deadline is Sep 23, 2014.

JOB OPPORTUNITY: DIRECTOR, NASA KEPLER & K2 MISSION GUEST OBSERVER OFFICE
JUN 10, 2014

The director of the Kepler/K2 Guest Observer (GO) office is responsible for managing the K2 mission’s GO program and providing support to community scientists utilizing Kepler and K2 data. The incumbent will work closely with NASA HQ to develop the call for K2 proposals and, at NASA HQ’s request, provide support for the proposal review. The director works within the Kepler Science Center to insure optimum implementation of the chosen observing program. In addition, the GO Director provides advocacy for the science community to the Kepler project office and works toward optimal science exploitation of the K2 mission and Kepler data products. The incumbent will also provide support to the community to work with archival data and will work to ensure the production and delivery of highly useful legacy archive data products. The GO director manages, operates and maintains the Kepler Science Center helpdesk, webpages, and blog as well as supports the development of open source community software tools to enhance the scientific output of Kepler and K2. This position maintains close relations with both the MAST and NExScI data archives and provides outreach to the community via attendance at astronomical meetings and speaking engagements. The incumbent will have the opportunity to carry out scientific investigations including those that use data from both the Kepler and K2 missions.

Qualifications: PhD in astronomy or related discipline; experience in a science support role; a broad understanding of astronomical and/or exoplanet science and community; excellent communication skills. Additional desirable experiences could include instrument characterization, data reduction, photometry, research publications, management and familiarity with Kepler data products.

It is anticipated that this position could begin as soon as August 1, 2014. The employer for this position is the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute. For additional info please contact BAERI directly.

K2 AT THE 224TH AAS MEETING JUN 1-5, 2014 IN BOSTON, MA
MAY 22, 2014

There will be a special session titled K2 Mission: Current Status and Science Results held at the 224th AAS meeting on Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014, at 12:30pm - 2:00 pm in the American Ballroom South at the Westin Copley Place. The session will start with a townhall-like presentation for 15-20 minutes to discuss the successful results of the 2014 NASA Senior Review process, the K2 Guest Observer Program, and the general plans for the K2 mission. We will discuss the fixed locations of the K2 campaign fields 1 to 5, how community input is important for future field selection. We will use the rest of the session to let you, the community, give talks to highlight K2 photometry and science which may have come from the Two-wheel Concept Engineering Test data, photometric analysis techniques for K2 data, and future large (and small) observational programs you may wish to discuss and engage the community in.

K2 MISSION APPROVED BY NASA HQ
MAY 15, 2014

The K2 mission, the two-wheel operation mode of the Kepler spacecraft observing in the ecliptic, has been approved based on a recommendation from the agency's 2014 Senior Review of its operating missions. The approval provides two years of funding for the K2 mission to continue exoplanet discovery, and introduces new scientific observation opportunities to observe notable star clusters, young and old stars, active galaxies and supernovae. The team is currently finishing up an end-to-end shakedown of this approach with a full-length campaign (Campaign 0), and is preparing for Campaign 1, the first K2 science observation run, scheduled to begin May 30.

THE K2 CAMPAIGN 1 SCIENCE PROGRAM AND TARGET LIST IS ONLINE
MAY 15, 2014

K2 Campaign 1 is planned to begin in late May and last approximately 75 days. The list of targets selected to be observed is now available. A total of 21,649 long cadence targets and 56 short cadence targets are planned to be observed. We thank everyone who submitted a proposal and congratulate the many people who contributed to the 73 proposals with selected targets. All data will be public to all archive users on the day they are ingested at the MAST and will be tagged with an investigation ID that is tied to the proposer. The mapping between proposer and investigation ID is listed along with the science cases for each approved proposal. The data is planned to become available toward the end of the year.

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER FOR KEPLER STAR PROPERTIES WORKING GROUP
MAY 15, 2014

The SETI Institute invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher to work with Dr. Daniel Huber and Prof. Jaymie Matthews on the characterization of stars in the Kepler field of view.The successful candidate will lead the construction of a catalog of accurate fundamental properties of all Kepler targets, which will form the basis for planet occurrence studies during the Kepler mission closeout, and will be a member of the Kepler Star Properties and Planet Occurrence Working Groups. For more information see the job advert. The application deadline is May 31 2014.

LAMOST-KEPLER WORKSHOP (BEIJING, AUGUST 18-22, 2014)
MAY 15, 2014

The LAMOST-Kepler Workshop will be held August 18-22, 2014 in Beijing. The Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) is a National Major Scientific Project undertaken by the Chinese Academy of Science. The 4-meter mirror of LAMOST enables it to obtain spectra of faint objects. LAMOST is designed with 4000 optical fibers in the optical path, covering a circular region with a diameter of 5 degrees of the sky simultaneously. More than 60,000 low-resolution spectra have been collected so far, leading to the first measurement of stellar parameters for thousands of stars. This workshop aims: (1) to present the LAMOST facility and the opportunities it opens for the international scientific society, (2) to highlight its usefulness for large observational surveys, (3) to present results obtained for the targets observed by the satellite mission Kepler and (4) to create/strengthen international collaborations with the LAMOST community. The programme of the workshop will consist of four days of scientific talks, posters and discussions and a one day excursion to LAMOST in Xinglong observatory.

COMMUNITY ADVOCACY REQUESTED FOR THE LOCATIONS OF K2 FIELDS 4 AND 5
APR 09, 2014

The spacecraft boresight positions for K2 Fields 4 and 5 will be set by the Project imminently. The current boresight positions are based upon the advocacy received so far. The Field 4 pointing provides a compromise between capturing members of the Pleiades and Hyades clusters. The Field 5 pointing is optimized for the observations of M44 and M67 targets. Investigators wanting alternative pointings to these should advocate for a different nearby pointing by providing sound scientific justification to the before Apr 20, 2014.

LOCATIONS OF K2 FIELDS 2 AND 3 ARE SET
APR 08, 2014

After community advocacy, the locations of fields 2 and 3 have been set. Field 2 will contain the star-forming regions around Upper Sco plus two globular clusters, thus delivering potential stellar targets spanning a broad range of stellar age and evolution. Field 3 will collect data around the galaxy-rich South Galactic Cap as well as contain the planet Neptune during the entire duration of the campaign.

MAY 9 DEADLINE FOR CAMPAIGN 2 AND CAMPAIGN 3 TARGET PROPOSALS
APR 08, 2014

The deadline for delivering target proposals for K2 Campaigns 2 and 3 is May 9, 2014 at 23:59 PDT. The tool K2fov has been updated, enabling proposers to determine whether potential targets fall upon active silicon during each campaign. The Ecliptic Plane Input Catalog (EPIC), for identifying K2 targets, will be updated with sources near fields 2 and 3, on around, Apr 10, 2014. Campaigns 2 and 3 will occur only if the K2 mission is approved for operation through the NASA Senior Review process.

K2 PHOTOMETRIC PERFORMANCE UNDER FINE-GUIDANCE CONTROL
APR 04, 2014

Fine-point guidance during thruster-assisted two-wheel operations was achieved and maintained for 9 days during the Feb 2014 engineering test. A comparison of photometric precision attained with past performance of the Kepler mission and two-wheel coarse-point operations is documented here. In terms of sensitivity to planet transits the fine-point test data falls approximately a factor 2 from the original Kepler mission.

TWO-WHEEL ENGINEERING TEST DATA ONLINE
MAR 25, 2014

9 days of two-wheel engineering data have been delivered to the MAST archive and are accessible to all interested users within the community. This data was collected between Feb 4-13, 2014, before Campaign 0, and points to a different region of sky to Campaign 0, RA = 359 deg, Dec = -2 deg. In future publications and presentations, we would be grateful if you referred to these data collectively as the "Two-wheel Concept Engineering Test". The motivation for delivering this test data is described below.

Campaign 0 is currently underway. Data collection began on Mar 10 and is expected to end on May 30. Campaign 0 is a full end-to-end shakedown test of two-wheel operations. The data collected from Campaign 0 will be processed through the existing Kepler pipeline only as far as the production of Target Pixel Files - small, calibrated and time-tagged images for each target. Further processing of the data, potentially through light curve creation, systematic error mitigation, transit searching and transit characterization is pending operational recommendations and financial decisions from the NASA Senior Review process. Therefore, for data collected during Campaign 0 and the first few potential future campaigns, the scientific community will be far more hands-on in the process of constructing the light curves required to deliver their science goals. Some of the approaches for light curve construction from Kepler Target Pixel Files have been incorporated into the existing PyKE software suite - Simple Aperture Photometry, PSF-fitted photometry and pixel-level Principal Component Analysis. While these Kepler tools will work out of the box for Campaign 0 data, users should note well that the larger spacecraft motion during data collection on two-wheels will mean that the best photometry solutions for Kepler will not necessarily be the best solutions in any future two-wheel operation. The community are encouraged to test the current solutions critically and develop alternatives when necessary. The Kepler Science Center will be turning its attention to these problems also, pending Senior Review endorsement, but the benefits of that effort will not be felt until deeper into the proposed mission.

Therefore to help the community in the endeavor of maximizing photometric quality and precision of a two-wheel mission we have delivered engineering data to the MAST archive. The Kepler spacecraft operated with fine-guidance, collecting data from 2,017 target masks. The properties and quality of the data therein is expected to be similar to those collected during Campaign 0 and provide an excellent opportunity for scientists to make an early and impactful start upon their investigations. Note also that the chances of there being undiscovered planet transits in this engineering set are high and the potential for other serendipitous science is great. To this end we have also provided lists of long cadence and short cadence targets with a brief description of why each was observed during the test. For those investigators eager to develop this test data scientifically and those investigators with the enthusiasm to develop new technical solutions for two-wheel photometry, we encourage you to dive wholeheartedly into this data set. The anonymous ftp address for data download is archive.stsci.edu and the data is archived in folder /pub/k2/tpf_eng. Alternatively there is a URL. A typical file size for one of these target pixel files is 26 MB. The Kepler Science Center will not support this engineering data with future reprocessings, deliveries or new products. However the Kepler Science Center will support questions through the helpdesk regarding this data set on a best-effort basis.

K2 AT THE 224TH AAS MEETING JUN 1-5, 2014 IN BOSTON, MA
MAR 25, 2014

There will be a special session titled "K2 Mission: Current Status and Science Results" held at the 224th AAS meeting on Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014, at 12:30pm - 2:00 pm in the American Ballroom South at the Westin Copley Place. The session will start with a "townhall-like" presentation for 15-20 minutes to discuss the results of the 2014 NASA Senior Review process and what it means for the K2 mission. We will discuss the fixed locations of putative K2 campaign fields 1, 2 and 3, how community input is needed for future K2 pointings, and the proposed Guest Observer program. We will use the rest of the session to let you, the community, give talks to highlight K2 photometry and science which may have come from the Two-wheel Concept Engineering Test data, photometric analysis techniques for K2 data, and future large observational programs you may wish to discuss and engage the community in. If you'd like to be a presenter at this special session then contact the organizer, Steve Howell, prior to May 9, 2014.

THE K2 CAMPAIGN 0 SCIENCE PROGRAM AND TARGET LIST IS ONLINE
FEB 28, 2014

Many thanks to everybody who contributed to the K2 Campaign 0 science program through submitting target proposals to the Kepler Science Center. The community response was wonderful in size and scope. The final science program and target list can be found on the K2 website. Successfully competed programs have been provided with an Investigation ID that users can match against targets in the observing list. All data will be public to all archive users on the day they are ingested at the MAST. Investigators are reminded that Campaign 0 is an engineering run and to temper their expectations accordingly, Data will be collected on a best-effort basis and delivered to the archive as is. The main purpose of the run is to map the changing alignment of spacecraft boresight and star trackers over the course of a campaign. With that calibration in hand and proof of concept of sustained fine guidance, we expect the size of target apertures be significantly smaller during future campaigns, and consequently target lists will be larger.

ERROR CORRECTED IN THE FTP VERSION OF THE ECLIPTIC PLANE INPUT CATALOG
FEB 28, 2014

A link error at the MAST website had the unfortunate result of delivering an old test version of the EPIC catalog when it was first publicized on Feb 25. The link was discovered and corrected the next working day, but not before seven users downloaded the incorrect catalog from the MAST FTP site. Most critically, the EPIC ID numbers have changed since that test version. If you did indeed download the FTP version of the catalog between Feb 25-26 we absolutely recommend you download again and junk the original file. Apologies for the inconvenience. Note that this error does not affect any target searches performed with the online tool.

APPARENT FAILURE OF MODULE 7 WITHIN THE K2 DETECTOR ARRAY
FEB 25, 2014

The K2 field-of-view tool has been updated to reflect a change in the focal plane performance and we recommend all target proposers update this tool on their personal computers before submitting Campaign 1 (C1) proposals. During the most-recent engineering exercise, the K2 spacecraft entered an autonomous safe mode due to a command sequence error. During safe mode recovery operations it was noticed that the photometer had been powered off on Jan 21 due to an under voltage fault in the Local Detector Electronics Power Supply. Upon delivery of science telemetry to the ground it became apparent that module 7 yielded no star data or charge injection signal after the power cycle. The data look very similar to those collected from module 3 after the detector anomaly reported on Jan 19, 2010. It is likely that module 7 has failed in a similar manner, and this is not believed to be an indication of any accelerated degradation of the detectors. K2 will continue to operate and collect simultaneous data from sources falling upon the remaining 19 modules over 105 square degrees.

ECLIPTIC PLANE INPUT CATALOG AVAILABLE FOR DIRECT DOWNLOAD
FEB 25, 2014

A full, ASCII version of the Ecliptic Plane Input Catalog (EPIC) for Field 1 of the K2 mission is now live at MAST. The catalog can be downloaded via FTP or queried using the casjobs system as well as the original search tool.

CALL FOR CAMPAIGN 1 SCIENCE TARGETS
FEB 07, 2014

K2's first full-science window starts in Jun 2014 and lasts approximately 75 days. We are requesting the community propose the targets to observe during the campaign. There has been no community advocacy received for or against the proposed fine-positioning of field 1. The final field boresight position has been set to RA (J2000) = 11h 35m 45.5s, Dec (J2000) = +01o 25' 02" (l = 264.5 deg, b = +58.5 deg) which provides suitable stars for the Fine Guidance Sensors. The deadline for target proposals is 23:59 PST Mar 7, 2014. Proposal instructions differ from those provided for the Campaign 0 cycle. New proposal resources in the Ecliptic Plane Input Catalog and an on-silicon query tool are now online.

THE ECLIPTIC PLANE INPUT CATALOG (EPIC)
FEB 07, 2014

K2 target proposers are asked to submit targets that have been selected from the EPIC. The EPIC plays the same role for K2 that the Kepler Input Catalog (KIC) played for Kepler target selection. The primary purpose of the catalog is to define photometric apertures for each potential target by providing celestial positions and Kepler bandpass magnitudes. EPIC parameters are produced by source matching existing multi-band catalogs and calculating color corrections for the Kepler bandpass. The EPIC will be updated with sources in upcoming fields before each call for targets. Future additions to the catalog will provide estimates of stellar properties, e.g. Teff, log(g), Fe/H and stellar radius, to facilitate target selection. Documentation describing the construction of the EPIC is provided here.

DOES A POTENTIAL TARGET FALL UPON ACTIVE SILICON?
FEB 07, 2014

F2FOV is a downloadable python script that reads a list of potential target positions (J2000 celestial coordinates) and returns whether they are likely to fall within the field of view of K2 during a specified observing campaign. This tool allows K2 target proposers to mostly avoid proposing target that will not reside on detector pixels during future campaigns.

THE LAMOST-KEPLER WORKSHOP
FEB 05, 2014

The LAMOST-Kepler Workshop will be held Aug 18-22, 2014 in Beijing, China. The 4-meter mirror of the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) enables it to obtain spectra of faint objects. LAMOST is designed with 4,000 optical fibers in the optical path, covering a circular region with a diameter of 5 degrees of the sky simultaneously. More than 40,000 low-resolution spectra of Kepler targets have been collected so far, leading to the first measurement of stellar parameters for thousands of stars. The LAMOST-Kepler workshop will review the current observations and data reduction, compare different methods of data analysis, integrate the needs of observations for different targets, optimize the future observation plan, and spread the scientific application of the data.

CAMPAIGN 0 FIELD IS SET TO OBSERVE M35
FEB 04, 2014

The operational boresight coordinates for campaign 0 have been set to RA = 06:33:11.1 Dec = +21:35:16 (J2000). The response to the call for Campaign 0 targets was exceptional. 126 proposals were received containing 110,000 non-unique targets. Proposal assessments are ongoing.

OPPORTUNITY FOR OBSERVATIONS WITH K2 - A NEW MISSION CONCEPT
JAN 15, 2014

The K2 Mission is a concept being proposed to NASA through the 2014 Senior Review Process that seeks to repurpose the NASA Kepler spacecraft. K2 will expand on Keplerʼs ground-breaking discoveries in the field of exoplanets and astrophysics by observing many new target types in a wide variety of new fields. The K2 Mission is currently soliciting comments on the fields that K2 will observe during its first two years and is soliciting target proposals for a performance demonstration test starting in March 2014. This initial test, known as Campaign 0, has the possibility of collecting ~75 days of science data for 5,000-10,000 targets. We are requesting the community propose the targets to observe during this campaign. The deadline for target proposals and comments on the subsequent fields is 1 February 2014. For additional information on K2, how to propose, and how to comment on the proposed K2 fields, visit the K2 Mission webpage. K2 is limited to pointing near the ecliptic plane, sequentially observing fields as it orbits the Sun. This observing strategy regularly brings new target fields into view, enabling observations of scientifically important objects across a wide range of galactic latitudes in both the northern and southern skies. K2 will perform a series of 80-day ecliptic-pointed campaigns to collect data for the astrophysical community bearing on planet formation processes, young stars, stellar activity, stellar structure and evolution, and extragalactic science. With an estimated photometric performance of 80 ppm (6-hr S/N for a 12th mag G star), the K2 mission offers simultaneous observations of approximately 10,000 objects with a combination of precision, cadence, and continuity that cannot be achieved from the ground.

TWO-WHEEL KEPLER MISSION INVITED TO 2014 SENIOR REVIEW
DEC 04, 2013

Based on an independent science and technical review of the Kepler project's concept for a Kepler two-wheel mission extension, Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director, has decided to invite Kepler to the Senior Review for astrophysics operating missions in early 2014. The Kepler team's proposal, dubbed K2, demonstrated a clever and feasible methodology for accurately controlling the Kepler spacecraft at the level of precision required for scientifically valuable data collection. The team must now further validate the concept and submit a Senior Review proposal that requests the funding necessary to continue the Kepler mission, with sufficient scientific justification to make it a viable option for the use of NASA's limited resources. This is not a decision to continue operating the Kepler spacecraft or to conduct a two-wheel extended mission; it is however an opportunity to write another proposal and compete against the Astrophysics division's other projects for the limited funding available for astrophysics operating missions. NASA uses the Senior Review process to assist in allocating its limited budget for operating missions during their extended phase. This activity takes place every two years, with the last astrophysics senior review being held in April 2012. The Senior Review Committee evaluates the anticipated science productivity of each mission over the next four years, focusing on the next two years. NASA will use the report of the Senior Review Committee in deciding which astrophysics missions to continue operating in FY2015 and FY2016. Astrophysics projects that will be evaluated during the 2014 Senior Review include Hubble, Chandra, Fermi, Kepler, NuSTAR, Spitzer, Suzaku, Swift, XMM-Newton and WISE (MaxWISE).

DELIVERY OF THE Q1-Q16 CATALOG CONTAINING REVISED PROPERTIES OF 196,000 KEPLER TARGET STARS
DEC 04, 2013

This post documents the first delivery of the Kepler Star Properties Working Group Q1-Q16 catalog containing revised properties of 196,000 Kepler target stars. The catalog is now available at the NASA Exoplanet Archive. The paper describing the catalog can be retrieved from arXiv. The paper describes provenance strings and reference keys that allow the user to trace back the origin of the derived properties for each star, presents a comparison to the Q1-Q12 catalog, and presents a discussion of the main limitations of the present catalog.

STSCI AND GEMINI ANNOUNCEMENT OF UREKA 1.0, INCORPORATING KEPLER PYKE TOOLS
DEC 04, 2013

STScI and Gemini have announced the release of Ureka 1.0. Ureka is a binary packaging installer for common astronomical software (primarily for the UV/Optical/IR community). PyKE, the open source software suite for reducing Kepler pixel time series and photometry is included within the package. The goals of the Ureka installer are to: 1) minimize the number of actions needed to install all the different software components. They are seeking a "one button install". 2) permit installation without requiring system privileges. 3) make installs as problem-free as possible for the great majority of users. 4) allow users to install their own software (particularly Python-based) within this framework, or update versions of software within the framework. 5) permit different Ureka installations to coexist and to easily switch between them. 6) enable installing different versions of the same software package under a particular Ureka installation. 7) support Macs and most popular Linux variants. This release includes IRAF 2.16 and associated packages for IRAF, DS9, and a fairly full suite of Python scientific software packages (e.g., numpy, scipy, and matplotlib). The full listing of included software can be found here. Ureka can be downloaded from: http://ssb.stsci.edu/ureka, (choose "1.0"). Installation and usage instructions can be found on the same web page. Send questions or feedback to help@stsci.edu. The inclusion of PyKE within this package reduces substantially the work required for PYKE installation and will hopefully be welcomed especially by Linux users in the Kepler community. Note well however that PyKE is still evolving rapidly within the project and community. For example the Ureka PyKE version is 2.4.0 whereas PyKE 2.5.0 is now available from the Kepler Project. Therefore regular installation updates of the PyKE tools from the Kepler Science Center over the top of your local Ureka install are recommended.

KEPLER AT THE 223RD AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY MEETING - WASHINGTON, DC
NOV 30, 2013

The 223rd AAS meeting occurs over Jan 5-9 in Washington, DC. There will be a significant Kepler presence there. 46 talks and 32 posters with the Kepler mission in their title will be presented, distributed over 30 different scientific sessions - testifying to the diversity within the Kepler community. Five special Kepler sessions will be spread over three days of the meeting - 1) "103. Exoplanets and Kepler Astrophysics" at 10am, Jan 6, 2) "128. Dynamics and Habitability of Exoplanets - What have we learned from Kepler?" at 2pm, Jan 6, 3) "132. Extrasolar Planet Detection - Ultra-Short-Period, Circumbinary, and Exomoons From Kepler" at 2pm, Jan 6, 4) "206. Extrasolar Planet Detection - Identification, Classification, and Validation of Kepler Candidates" at 10am, Jan 7 and 5) "228. Extrasolar Planet Detection - Kepler Mission and Microlensing Surveys" at 2pm, Jan 7. There is a Kepler booth in the exhibition hall where we encourage you to tarry with the Science and Technical Teams, bring your questions, concerns and ideas and identify funding sources and scientific opportunities with Kepler. At 12.45pm on Jan 6, there is the "NASA Kepler Mission Town Hall" which will present the Project's concept for a mission collecting data on the remaining two operating reaction wheels. Please come join us for this town hall reception, meet the Kepler team, and learn about the future mission plans for both planet discovery and astrophysics.

MAST DISCOVERY PORTAL GOES LIVE
NOV 26, 2013

MAST has announced the first release of its Discovery Portal. The Portal is a one-stop web interface to access data from all of MAST's supported missions, including HST, Kepler, GALEX, FUSE, IUE, EUVE, and Swift-UVOT. Users can upload tables of targets to search for, if RA and DEC are provided. Furthermore, these tables, once uploaded into the Portal, can be used to interact with other features of the Portal.

TALKS AND POSTERS FROM THE SECOND KEPLER CONFERENCE ARE ONLINE
NOV 21, 2013

Videos of all the talks presented at the Kepler conference are now available for viewing on the conference website. They are posted following the talk titles on the agenda page. PDF files of the posters presented at the conference are on the poster session page. If attendees would like their poster added to this list, please email it to KeplerII@ipac.caltech.edu.

POINT SPREAD FUNCTION PHOTOMETRY CAPABILITY ADDED TO THE PYKE 2.5.0 PACKAGE
NOV 10, 2013

Two new tools have been added to the PyKE package in version 2.5.0. kepprf and kepprfphot enable the user to perform point-spread function fitted photometry to the kepler Target Pixel Files. In many cases PSF photometry is proving to provide increased photometric precision on exoplanet transit timescales for targets of Kepler magnitude > 14, has the ability to deconvolve crowded and confused sources from one another, avoid the need for flux fraction and contamination corrections to light curves, and reduce the impact of systematic noise relative to simple aperture photometry. Kepler archive users are encouraged to try this method and compare results with archived and manually-derived aperture light curves.

SAGAN FELLOWSHIP DEADLINE IS NOV 7
OCT 28, 2013

The NASA Exoplanet Science Institute solicits applications for Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowships to begin in the fall of 2014. The deadline for applications and letters of reference and endorsement is Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 4 pm PST. Applications and letters must be submitted as PDF files.More information: http://nexsci.caltech.edu/sagan/fellowship.shtml. Questions: saganfellowship@ipac.caltech.edu.

KEPLER SCIENCE CENTER CLOSED DURING THE US GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
OCT 01, 2013

Annual funding for the US government expired at midnight on Sep 30, 2013, with no agreement between the houses on a fiscal year 2014 budget. Therefore, while the US government remains in shutdown, the Kepler Science Center will be closed. Helpdesk services and archive deliveries will resume when the government re-opens. Essential staff will remain on-site in order to maintain the health of the spacecraft, while Ball Aerospace will continue on-sky tests of a Kepler two-wheel mission. Please continue to send correspondence to the Center, and we will respond as soon as we can after the shutdown.

AGENDA FOR THE SECOND KEPLER SCIENCE CONFERENCE
SEP 30, 2013

The final agenda for talks and posters at the Second Kepler Science Conference is now posted. There are currently 325 registrants. Registration for US Citizens closes on October 25. Please note that the conference is not currently considered at risk due to the ongoing government shutdown. Attendees should however remain abreast of the US government situation, especially if the shutdown proves to be lengthy.

NEW AND AMENDED KOI DISPOSITIONS AT THE EXOPLANET ARCHIVE
SEP 05, 2013

The Kepler Object of Interest (KOI) activity tables at NExScI have been updated with new or confirmed FALSE POSITIVE dispositions for 586 KOIs. These objects were identified by cross-matching the ephemerides of all KOIs in the current cumulative activity table and all known eclipsing binaries (i.e. the Kepler Eclipsing Binary Catalog v3.0 and a number of published ground-based surveys). Analysis determined which of these KOIs suffered from flux contamination by another source. The most frequent type of contamination was direct PRF (see Kepler Instrument Handbook, p. 35) contamination, while others suffered from video crosstalk (see the KIH, p. 71) or scattered light (see the KIH, p. 41) contamination. Note that some of these KOIs were previously NOT DISPOSITIONED and some were dispositioned as CANDIDATE, but many were already dispositioned as FALSE POSITIVE using other metrics.

KEPLER AT THE 45TH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE DIVISION FOR PLANETARY SCIENCES - DENVER, CA
SEP 05, 2013

The 45th DPS meeting occurs over Oct 6-11 in Denver, CO. There will be a Kepler presence there with talks and posters distributed over 5 different scientific sessions. NExScI are graciously sharing their booth space with Kepler in the exhibition hall where we encourage you to tarry with members of the Science and Operations Teams. Bring your questions, concerns and ideas concerning both the ongoing exploitation of the Kepler data and a re-purposed two-wheel Kepler mission.

42 WHITE PAPERS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO CALL FOR TWO-WHEEL SCIENCE OPPORTUNITIES
SEP 04, 2013

In response to the white paper call for identifying the scientific potential of Kepler operating on two reaction wheels, 42 papers have been received. The papers can be reviewed here. We thank all contributors who responded to this call. The Kepler Project Office is in the process of combining these ideas into a potential mission concept to be delivered to NASA HQ on Sep 27, 2013.

CYCLE 5 GUEST OBSERVER PROGRAM CANCELED
AUG 27, 2013

The planned Cycle 5 GO observations were scheduled to begin in late June 2013 but were postponed after the failure of reaction wheel 4 and subsequent attempts to regain fine-point control of the spacecraft. Following months of analysis and testing, the Kepler Space Telescope team is ending its attempts to restore the spacecraft to full working order, and now is considering what new science research it can carry out in its current condition. Consequently, we are forced to conclude that there is no longer any realistic hope that it will be possible to execute any of the proposed Cycle 5 GO programs, and that all the proposals submitted to the program must be declined. We are currently developing a two-wheel mission concept and understanding potential contributions of a GO program in that concept.

CFOP VIDEO TUTORIALS
AUG 26, 2013

The first two in a series of Kepler Community Follow-up Observing Program (CFOP) video tutorials have been posted to the NASA Exoplanet Archive You Tube channel: https://www.you tube.com/user/NASAExoplanetArchive/videos.

AN INITIAL POINTING STUDY FOR KEPLER TWO-WHEEL OPERATION
AUG 20, 2013

Using an initial Ball Aerospace two-wheel pointing study discussed in the call for white papers for alternative science investigations with Kepler, we provide a further discussion of the pointing ability we believe can be achieved with the Kepler spacecraft. This current document characterizes spacecraft boresight drift resulting from solar pressure. The document describes the pointing directions where performance is optimized and characterizes the drift on those cases. Pointing the spacecraft in non-optimal directions may cost more in terms of operational complexity and/or fuel usage, but is possible. An example is given for a pointing to the nominal mission Kepler field of view. Engineering activities continue to characterize boresight jitter caused by reaction wheel rotation in the two-wheel case, although no updates on the jitter information provided in the white paper call are available at this time. The X,Y,Z coordinate system discussed within the document is detailed in a figure shown in the call for white papers. The FAQ for the white paper call continues to be maintained.

CALL FOR 2014 SAGAN FELLOWSHIP APPLICATIONS
AUG 19, 2013

The NASA Exoplanet Science Institute solicits applications for Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowships to begin in the fall of 2014. The deadline for applications and letters of reference and endorsement is Thursday, Nov 7, 2013 at 4 pm PST. The Sagan Fellowships support outstanding recent postdoctoral scientists to conduct independent research that is broadly related to the science goals of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration program. The primary goal of missions within this program is to discover and characterize planetary systems and Earth-like planets around nearby stars. More information here. Questions: saganfellowship@ipac.caltech.edu.

NASA ENDS ATTEMPTS TO FULLY RECOVER KEPLER SPACECRAFT, POTENTIAL NEW MISSIONS CONSIDERED
AUG 15, 2013

Following months of analysis and testing, the Kepler Space Telescope team is ending its attempts to restore the spacecraft to full working order, and now is considering what new science research it can carry out in its current condition. On Aug. 8, engineers conducted a system-level performance test to evaluate Kepler's current capabilities. They determined wheel 2, which failed last year, can no longer provide the precision pointing necessary for the collection of science data for its primary program. The spacecraft was returned to its point rest state, which is a stable configuration where Kepler uses thrusters to control its pointing with minimal fuel use. An engineering study will be conducted on the modifications required to manage science operations with the spacecraft using a combination of its remaining two good reaction wheels and thrusters for spacecraft attitude control. Informed by contributions from the broader science community in response to the call for scientific white papers announced Aug. 2, the Kepler project team will perform a study to identify possible science opportunities for a two-wheel Kepler mission. Depending on the outcome of these studies, which are expected to be completed later this year, NASA will assess the scientific priority of a two-wheel Kepler mission. Such an assessment may include prioritization relative to other NASA astrophysics missions competing for operational funding at the NASA Senior Review board early next year.

A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION FOR SPACECRAFT TWO-REACTION WHEEL HYBRID CONTROL APPROACHES
AUG 14, 2013

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is seeking to obtain information on innovative approaches for spacecraft hybrid attitude control that employ mixed-actuator combinations of two reaction wheels and reaction control thrusters. Specifically NASA is seeking innovative hybrid attitude control approaches for the distressed Kepler spacecraft which has suffered performance anomalies with two of its four-reaction wheel attitude control actuators. NASA is interested in identifying potential organizations that are capable of generating innovative spacecraft hybrid attitude control approaches. In particular the NESC is directly supporting the Kepler Project Office engineering and science staff with the identification of potential spacecraft hybrid attitude control approaches. The NESC is seeking information via this Request for Information (RFI) in an attempt to identify noteworthy hybrid control ideas, innovations and approaches that would allow NASA to continue its use of the Kepler observatory's remaining functional capabilities to accomplish potentially new and different scientific objectives. The NESC is primarily interested in identifying those hybrid control approaches that will enable the most compelling new science observations envisioned for a re-purposed Kepler science mission. The NESC will review all submissions received in response to this RFI. NASA reserves the right to follow up with those responding organizations that present viable approaches for hybrid control. +read more.

2014A NASA KECK CALL FOR PROPOSALS
AUG 07, 2013

NASA is soliciting proposals to use the Keck Telescopes for the 2014A observing semester (February 1, 2014 - July 31, 2014). NASA intends the use of the Keck telescopes to be highly strategic in support of on-going space missions and/or high priority, long-term science goals. Proposals are sought in a number of discipline areas, including investigations in support of EXOPLANET EXPLORATION science goals. Direct Kepler mission support proposals are encouraged. The proposal process is being handled by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) at Caltech and all proposals are due on Sep 19, 2013 at 4 pm PDT. See here for further information and the proposal submission site. Questions not answered on these pages can be directed to KeckCFP@ipac.caltech.edu.

KEPLER DATA CHARACTERISTICS HANDBOOK UPDATED
AUG 03, 2012

Version 4 of the Kepler Data Characteristics Handbook was published on May 31. We correct the oversight of failing to blog its release here. The handbook provides a description of the systematic phenomena identified in the Kepler data, and an explanation for how these characteristics are currently handled by the data analysis pipeline.

SOLICITING COMMUNITY INPUT FOR ALTERNATE SCIENCE INVESTIGATIONS FOR THE KEPLER SPACECRAFT
AUG 02, 2013

Kepler has lost potentially the use of two of its four reaction wheels. These reaction wheels were used to keep the telescope in fine point during long duration (weeks to months) observations of the Kepler field of view. Kepler requires three reaction wheels to deliver the high-precision photometry necessary for small exoplanet detection. If one of the two reaction wheels cannot be returned to operation, it is unlikely that the spacecraft will resume the nominal Kepler exoplanet and astrophysics mission. NASA has announced a call for white papers to solicit community input for alternate science investigations that may be performed using Kepler and are consistent with its probable two-wheel performance. If an appropriate science case(s) and cost envelope is found, the re-purposed mission will continue to be operated out of NASA Ames Research Center and make use of the nominal mission project office personnel and expertise already in place. The call for white papers and initial information as to the preliminary assessment of the pointing ability of the Kepler spacecraft using only two reaction wheels are provided. A FAQ for the white paper call will be maintained at the Kepler Science Center website. As a reminder, the ongoing status of the reaction wheel investigations will be delivered through Mission Manager's Updates. Note also there is a related, yet separate call for information for spacecraft two-reaction wheel hybrid control approaches.

REGISTRATION AND ABSTRACT SUBMISSION ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE SECOND KEPLER SCIENCE CONFERENCE
AUG 02, 2013

Registration and Abstract Submission are now available for the Second Kepler Science Conference, Nov 4-8 2013 at NASA Ames Research Center. Please visit the conference website for more information. NASA Ames hosted the first Kepler Science Conference in 2011 and this year we are pleased to announce new ways to participate. You may attend in person with no registration fee to take advantage of conversing with colleagues on-site. Please note, however, that NASA employees' attendance is governed by current travel policy restrictions, and that any NASA attendee should consult the policy for compliance. You may also attend virtually, viewing the conference at your desk or at mirror sites where the conference will be broadcast. So you can stay in your office or join friends and colleagues at a local mirror site, saving time and travel costs. Mirror site locations will be posted in the coming weeks; if you're interested in hosting a mirror site, please contact the conference organizers at KeplerII@ipac.caltech.edu.

Questions: KeplerII@ipac.caltech.edu

Important Dates:
Sep 06: Abstract submission deadline
Sep 20: Foreign National registration deadline
Oct 18: On-line registration closed for US citizens

QUARTER 16 LIGHT CURVES, TARGET PIXEL FILES AND COTRENDING BASIS VECTORS NOW AT MAST
AUG 02, 2013

All quarter 16 light curves and target pixel files are now available to the Kepler community from the Archive Data Search and Retrieval page at MAST. Q16 covers the period Jan 12 to Apr 08, 2013 and includes the third quarter of cycle 4 Guest Observer observations. Q16 light curves are delivered as both calibrated Simple Aperture Photometry (SAP) and Pre-search Data Conditioned (PDC) form. PDC reduces instrumental and systematic photometric artifacts while retaining intrinsic astrophysics within the time series data. The PDC pipeline module identifies the common photometric structure over a large sample of Kepler sources local to your target, constructs cotrending basis vectors to characterize the common variability, and employs these to fit and remove systematics from individual light curves. In individual cases where PDC provides a non-optimal solution or where users have re-extracted photometry from a target pixel file, archive users have the data and software resources to re-perform artifact mitigation with customized, target-specific criteria using canned cotrending basis vectors and available cotrending software. Data Release Note 22 documents the quality of quarter 16 data.

TOOL FOR CORRECTING TIME STAMP ERRORS IN Q1-Q14 TARGET PIXEL FILES
JUL 20, 2013

All Kepler light curve and target pixel files with version numbers less than 5.0 contain an error in the time stamps. This time error was fixed in archived light curves with version 5.0 (ingested at MAST during May 2013). Due to commitments of the Kepler pipeline, a reprocessing of the associated target pixel files could not be accommodated at the same time. While we wait for that reprocessing, the PyKE tool keptimefix will correct the target pixel file time stamps and headers to make all times within the file consistent with the corrected light curve files. The error in Q0-13 data can be corrected by adding 66.184s. This tool fixes the time stamp accordingly. During Q14 there was a leap second and therefore the first part of the Quarter has a correction of 66.184s and the later part has a 67.184s correction. More details can be found in the Kepler Archive Manual.

PIXEL INSPECTION TOOL ADDED TO THE PyKE PACKAGE
JUL 20, 2013

A new tool has been added to the PyKE package for the purpose of characterizing the contents of an individual target mask. The tool, kepfield is a companion to the existing heavily used task keppixseries. kepfield plots the flux content of each pixel within a target mask, provides positions of known sources within and close to the mask and defines the photometric aperture chosen by the Kepler pipeline to extract the light curve archived at the MAST. This plot provides diagnostics for understanding the fraction of target flux that falls within the pipeline photometric aperture and potential sources of contaminating flux from nearby sources falling within the aperture. The plot can be used to assess whether a new light curve is worth constructing from a customized aperture or PSF fitting. Each source found nearby is tabulated in terms of CCD row, CCD column, Right Ascension, Declination and, when available, the Kepler bandpass magnitude and KIC number. Source information is extracted from the MAST and therefore in order to execute kepfield correctly, the user's machine must be connected to the internet.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN PYRAF DOWNLOAD AND INSTALLATION
JUL 20, 2013

The PyKE package of Kepler data reduction tools can be installed as a PyRAF package. In the recent past PyRAF and IRAF have generally proved trivial for Mac users to install and often a source of pain for Linux users. The PyRAF team have recently upgraded this system considerably and trials within the GO Office on both Mac and Linux platforms were fast, smooth and successful. We encourage users (in particular Linux users) to try this out. PyKE installation instructions have been amended accordingly.

Q1-12 KEPLER OBJECTS OF INTEREST ACTIVITY TABLE NOW OPEN AT THE EXOPLANET ARCHIVE
MAY 28, 2013

The Kepler project has opened the Q1-12 Kepler Objects of Interest (KOI) activity table, adding 1,924 new KOIs detected over a 34-month baseline. None of the new KOIs have yet been dispositioned into planet candidates and false positives, so this list contains many objects which will ultimately become false positives. The dispositioning of these KOIs will occur incrementally over the coming months. See more details in the Q1-12 delivery history, which will track updates as they are delivered. The planet parameters for all KOIs in the Q1-12 activity table have been updated using pipeline fits to the Q1-Q12 data. The new KOIs have also been added to the cumulative table using the Q1-12 planet parameters. Still feeling your way around the Exoplanet Archive? Find some reading on the philosophy and content of the archive in the Kepler Mission Information page.

IAU SYMPOSIUM 301: PRECISION ASTEROSEISMOLOGY
MAY 28, 2013

The IAUS301 symposium will take place in Wroclaw, Poland during Aug 19-23, 2013 and it will be an opportunity to celebrate the Scientific Opus of Wojtek Dziembowski. This conference intends to discuss what are the missing physics in stellar structure and evolution theory and how these may be retrieved from the analysis of stellar oscillations. Moreover, the symposium would like to point out the synergies between helio- and asteroseismology and how the experience and methods of helioseismology can be used to advance asteroseismology efficiently. Registration deadline is Jun 7.

Q0-Q14 REPROCESSED DATA AVAILABLE AT THE MAST
MAY 24, 2013

From SOC 8.3 processing, improved versions of pipeline-generated light curves for Kepler quarters 0 through 14 (i.e. Q0-Q14) are now available for download from the MAST. The associated Data Release 21 Notes describe the phenomena within the data. The most notable improvements are:

  • an algorithm (Multi-scale PDC) that provides improved correction for systematic light curve structure on timescales < 10 days
  • barycentric times exported in the TDB time system

Updated Cotrending Basis Vectors, created from this newly reprocessed data, are available for download from the MAST. They can be found on the Ancillary Data page at MAST. Users should only apply CBVs to data with matching data release numbers. Full-frame images (FFIs) have also been corrected to conform to the TDB time system. New versions of the FFIs are available for download from the MAST. This reprocessing provides uniform data reduction over the archived Q-Q14 light curves for the first time. Note that the Target Pixel Files have not been re-delivered. This delivery will occur when schedule allows. Until that time, there will be a small mis-match between times archived in the light curves and their corresponding Target Pixel Files. A temporary tool for correcting Target Pixel Files to the TDB system, keptimefix, will be added to the PyKE package over the next few days.

KEPLER CYCLE 5 GUEST OBSERVER PROGRAM ON HOLD
MAY 21, 2013

The failure of reaction wheel 4 occurred during the final quarter of Kepler Guest Observer cycle 4 (Q17). This reaction wheel failure leaves the spacecraft with only two functional reaction wheels, and two wheels alone are not sufficient to meet the extremely exacting pointing standards that are required for Kepler to conduct its highly-precise photometric measurements. The spacecraft has transitioned to a Point Rest State that requires a fraction of the fuel expenditure of the previously employed thruster-controlled safe mode. This provides the project with time to best explore its options. The status of the Kepler spacecraft while engineers investigate prospects for continued 3-wheel operation or assisted 2-wheel operation can be followed through the Mission Managers Updates. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no clear answer to what impact the Kepler reaction wheel failure will have on the Cycle 5 GO selections. The planned Cycle 5 GO observations will not begin in late June as had been anticipated. Beyond that, any decision about the fate of the Cycle 5 GO selections must await a determination of (1) whether resumption of spacecraft science operations is both feasible and justified, and, (2) if so, what the operational capabilities of the spacecraft will be. It is therefore likely months rather than weeks before this decision is made.

KEPLER TARGET SEARCH TABLES ENHANCED WITH PART #2 OF THE KEPLER-INT SURVEY
MAY 21, 2013

The MAST have added the second part of the Kepler-INT survey to the Kepler target search form. 98% of the field has now been delivered with U, g, r, i and Hα source fluxes. The Kepler-INT survey increases the photometric depth of the target search table, approaching the confusion limit of Kepler, and provides narrow Hα band photometry for the first time.

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY RELEASE THE KEPLER FILTERGRAPH PORTAL
MAY 10, 2013

Vanderbilt University provide an online portal presenting the Kepler Input Catalog data and source properties on the detector (available in the Kepler target search form) for all stars observed by Kepler as of March 2013. The Kepler Filtergraph portal includes data on 203,546 stars that have Kepler lightcurves. The full set of available fields provided by the Kepler target search form have been whittled down to a smaller set to make the interactive tool more manageable. The key features of this tool are the ability to quickly plot data in up to 5 dimensions (X, Y, Z, pointsize, and color), while simultaneously filtering the plotted points on any of the fields. The portal allows click-and-drag selection of points and multiple options for scaling and resizing plots. A user can also easily download any plot in multiple formats, or the equivalent tabular data for selected points in the plot.

QUARTER 15 LIGHT CURVES, TARGET PIXEL FILES AND COTRENDING BASIS VECTORS NOW AT MAST
APR 27, 2013

All quarter 15 light curves and target pixel files are now available to the Kepler community from the Archive Data Search and Retrieval page at MAST. Q15 covers the period Oct 5, 2012 to Jan 11, 2013 and includes the second quarter of cycle 4 Guest Observer observations. Q15 light curves are delivered as both calibrated Simple Aperture Photometry (SAP) and Pre-search Data Conditioned (PDC) form. PDC reduces instrumental and systematic photometric artifacts while retaining intrinsic astrophysics within the time series data. The PDC pipeline module identifies the common photometric structure over a large sample of Kepler sources local to your target, constructs cotrending basis vectors to characterize the common variability, and employs these to fit and remove systematics from individual light curves. In individual cases where PDC provides a non-optimal solution or where users have re-extracted photometry from a target pixel file, archive users have the data and software resources to re-perform artifact mitigation with customized, target-specific criteria using canned cotrending basis vectors and available cotrending software. Data Release Note 20 documents the quality of quarter 15 data.

NASA's ASTROPHYSICS DATA ANALYSIS PROGRAM FUNDS KEPLER ARCHIVAL RESEARCH
MAR 04, 2013

The Astrophysics Data Analysis Program (ADAP) funds research whose primary emphasis is the analysis of NASA space astrophysics data that are archived in the public domain at the time of proposal submission. The deadline for applications this year is May 17. Kepler has a growing body of data that is eligible for funded research through the ADAP. Those Kepler light curves and target pixel files that are in the public domain by May will be all Q0-Q15 data, excluding those Q12-13 Guest Observer targets still subject to the exclusive use period defined in the cycle 4 NASA Reserch Announcement. In addition, all Kepler Full Frame Images (FFIs) obtained on a monthly cadence are available to the community and the ADAP program. We recommend the US community propose for ADAP resources to exploit these Kepler data and contact the for technical advice during proposal preparation.

NASA KECK CALL FOR GENERAL OBSERVING PROPOSALS AND SPECIAL MULTI-SEMESTER KEPLER KEY SCIENCE CALL
MAR 04, 2013

NASA is soliciting proposals to use the two 10m W. M. Keck Telescopes for the 2013B observing semester (Aug 2013 - Jan 2014). The opportunity to propose as Principal Investigators for NASA time on the Keck Telescopes is open to all U.S.-based astronomers (U.S.-based astronomers have their principal affiliation at a U.S. institution). Investigators from institutions outside of the U.S. may be on proposals as Co-Investigators. NASA intends the use of the Keck telescopes to be highly strategic in support of on-going space missions and/or high priority, long term science goals. NASA Keck time is open to a wide range of disciplines including exoplanets, stars, and extragalactic topics. Single-semester proposals for all Kepler-related science will continue to be accepted as part of the standard NASA Keck call.
Keck has been critical to the validation and characterization of Kepler exoplanet candidates. For the period 2013B-2015A, NASA will allocate 10 nights per semester for follow-up activities via competitive selection of Key Projects. This will be the only opportunity to propose for the majority of Keck follow-up time for Kepler exoplanet science during this period. Properties of the Kepler Key Projects are: i) Proposals must be relevant to Kepler’s exoplanet goals, ii) Multi-semester proposals can request between 2 and 4 semesters, iii) Requests can total up to 40 nights with no more than 10 nights/semester. Small, multi-semester proposals are also encouraged. The proposal process is handled by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) at Caltech and all proposals are due on Mar 14, 2013 at 4 pm PDT.

DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY TARGETS FOR QUARTER 17
MAR 04, 2013

The upcoming Jan 6 quarterly roll defines the boundary between Kepler operational quarters 16 and 17. New target lists have been delivered and approved for upload to the spacecraft. Available GO pixel resources allowed a number of Director's Discretionary Targets to be added to the observing program:

INVID KEPID PI CAD. TITLE
GO40101 9535405 Howell LC SINGLE WHITE DWARF WITH ROTATING HOT SPOTS
GO40102 11412044 Lintott LC PLANETHUNTERS.ORG DISCOVERED DWARF NOVA
GO40102 5565606 Lintott LC PLANETHUNTERS.ORG DISCOVERED DWARF NOVA
GO40102 10678185 Lintott LC PLANETHUNTERS.ORG DISCOVERED DWARF NOVA
GO40103 7729019 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7798187 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7936228 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7416700 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7582708 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7730297 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7868547 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40104 9071514 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 3952037 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 7524178 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 7680833 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 4761507 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 8625249 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 6691294 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 6615102 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 12062071 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 11701965 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 12984288 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 8482611 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 7102641 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 4843809 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40108 11124589 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 10000650 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 6431170 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 5865248 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 5522356 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 7025613 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 10069188 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 8622524 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 6939336 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 3750281 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40110 3426313 Howell LC NEW CATACLYSMIC VARIABLE FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40110 8490027 Howell LC NEW CATACLYSMIC VARIABLE FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 10149875 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 7346018 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 9228724 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 7797992 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 6672883 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 8244398 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 10213347 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 10356860 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 8751336 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 11822524 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 11509531 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 8612751 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 6042560 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 3751235 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 8210423 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 11176123 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 9790337 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 9083864 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40112 11550689 Sanchis-Ojeda SC A SHORT PERIOD PLANET CANDIDATE
GO40113 9730163 Muirhead SC A POTENTIALLY HABITABLE TRANSITING SYSTEM
GO40114 11548140 Shporer SC ECLIPSING WHITE DWARF/M DWARF BINARY
GO40041 5597763 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11649441 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 3730597 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7523720 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7888018 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11614932 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10879978 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11615602 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10545080 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11615872 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 9664001 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 4247703 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11021406 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10798894 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7903237 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7334759 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 4356027 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 5699094 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10070645 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 9339957 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10337840 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11245788 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 6208061 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 5795689 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 5801668 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 8108709 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7622125 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11413175 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11671775 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10091441 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 4772921 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10098858 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN

23 KOI DISPOSITIONS UPDATED FROM PLANET CANDIDATE TO FALSE POSITIVE
FEB 13, 2013

The Kepler project is now conducting the identification and disposition of Kepler Objects of Interest according to the operational philosophy described at the Exoplanet Archive. The dispositions of 23 KOIs in the Q1-Q8 and cumulative tables at NExScI have been changed from planetary candidates (PC) to false-positives (FP). These KOIs were identified as suspect via period and epoch matching between all known KOIs and eclipsing binaries (EBs). Detailed pixel-level follow-up confirmed that these KOIs are a result of contamination by known EBs, either from the Kepler Eclipsing Binary Catalog v3.0 or from ground-based surveys. Notes for each object are provided in the "koi_comment" field. Here "PRF contamination" means an EB was close enough to the KOI to directly contaminate the KOI's pixels, "cross-talk" means that the EB signal was propagated to the same row and column of another output on the same module via video crosstalk (see the Kepler Instrument Handbook, pp.71-72), and "charge-transfer anomaly" is not fully understood, but appears to be contamination from a widely separated EB on the same column, module, and output as the KOI. One additional period-epoch match was found involving KOI 2233.01 and the EB KIC 9101279. However, KOI 2233.01 remains a planet candidate because its transit shape is distinctly different than the EB's primary eclipse and the EB's secondary is not seen at the expected level. The updated rows can be viewed by sorting or filtering on the "Date of Last Update" column.

RECENT UPDATES TO THE CFOP ARCHIVE
FEB 13, 2013

There have been updates to the Community Follow-up Observing Program (CFOP) website over the past month. 1) New KOIs from the Q1-Q8 TCE vetting program have been added. The target list now shows the total number of KOIs per star, including the number of each KOI disposition: confirmed planet (CP), planetary candidate (PC), or false positive (FP). The target list includes a description of each disposition and can be filtered by disposition. All KOIs have been updated with the latest stellar and planetary parameters, coordinates, and finding charts. Links to the Exoplanet Archive overview page and DV report are available from each individual target page. 2) The final transfer of data from the primary mission follow-up archive has been completed. 3) Spectroscopy and imaging summary tables have been added to each individual target page. These tables are intended to provide the user with a quick summary of what observations have been taken on a KOI. 4) A news/announcements page has been added to allow users to post notes not associated with a specific KOI. 5) A contributed files section has been added to allow users to upload files not associated with a specific KOI. If you wish to sign up to the CFOP mailing list, go here.

CYCLE 3 PARTICIPATING SCIENTIST PROPOSAL DEADLINE IS MAR 1
FEB 07, 2013

For those US-based scientists interested in exploiting significant research grants for scientific programs that align with Kepler's extended mission goals, this is a reminder that the deadline for cycle 3 Kepler Participating Scientist Program (PSP) proposals is Mar 1, 2013.

QUARTER 14 LIGHT CURVES, TARGET PIXEL FILES AND COTRENDING BASIS VECTORS NOW AT MAST
FEB 07, 2013

All quarter 14 light curves and target pixel files are now available to the Kepler communityArchive Data Search and Retrieval page at MAST. Q14 covers the period Jun 29, 2012 to Oct 3, 2012 and includes the first quarter of cycle 4 Guest Observer observations. Q14 light curves are delivered as both calibrated Simple Aperture Photometry (SAP) and Pre-search Data Conditioned (PDC) form. PDC reduces instrumental and systematic photometric artifacts while retaining intrinsic astrophysics within the time series data. The PDC pipeline module identifies the common photometric structure over a large sample of Kepler sources local to your target, constructs cotrending basis vectors to characterize the common variability, and employs these to fit and remove systematics from individual light curves. In individual cases where PDC provides a non-optimal solution or where users have re-extracted photometry from a target pixel file, archive users have the data and software resources to re-perform artifact mitigation with customized, target-specific criteria using canned cotrending basis vectors and available cotrending software. Data Release Note 19 documents the quality of quarter 14 data.

THE IMPACT OF REACTION WHEEL RESTING ON THE Q16 GO SHORT CADENCE PROGRAM
JAN 30, 2013

To reduce operational overheads and increase the duty time of the exoplanet survey, the thruster controlled safe mode between Jan 17-28 is being treated as the data gap between month 1 and month 2 of Q16. This however means that month 1 is considerably shorter than planned (5 days) while month 2 is longer than planned. For those short cadence Guest Observer programs impacted significantly by a reduced data volume, Principal Investigators are encouraged to submit a DDT proposal to recover the lost baseline.

KEPLER REACTION WHEELS RESTED FOR TEN DAYS
JAN 29, 2013

Since the failure of reaction wheel #2 in Jul 2012, the performance of the spacecraft on three wheels has been excellent. Reaction wheel #2 worked relatively well until Jan 2012, when it began to exhibit elevated and somewhat chaotic friction that led to failure. Since launch, reaction wheel #4 has been something of a free spirit, with a variety of friction signatures, none of which look like reaction wheel #2, and all of which disappeared on their own after a time. Early in Jan 2013 elevated friction was detected in reaction wheel #4. As a precaution for wheel safety, and as a conservative measure to mitigate the friction, the reaction wheels were spun down to zero-speed and the spacecraft was placed in a thruster-controlled safe mode on Jan 17. Science data collection was halted during this rest period and the spacecraft solar panels were pointed at the sun to maintain positive power. This is similar to a normal safe mode configuration, but with thrusters maintaining attitude instead of reaction wheels. Resting the wheels can provide an opportunity for the lubricant in the bearings to redistribute and potentially return the friction to nominal levels. Over the next month, the engineering team will review the performance of reaction wheel #4 before, during, and after the safe mode to determine the efficacy of the rest operation. The spacecraft returned to science data collection on Jan 28. During the 10-day resting safe mode, daily health and status checks with the spacecraft using NASA's Deep Space Network were normal.

CYCLE 5 GUEST OBSERVER PROPOSAL DEADLINE IS JAN 18
JAN 04, 2013

This is a quick reminder that the deadline for cycle 5 GO proposals is 23:59pm EST on Jan 18. Innovations in the program this year are more available targets of both long and short cadence and exoplanet science is now in-scope of the program.

KEPLER AT THE 221ST AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY MEETING - LONG BEACH, CA
JAN 04, 2013

The 221st AAS meeting occurs over Jan 6-10 in Long Beach, CA. There will be a significant Kepler presence there. 33 talks and 26 posters with the Kepler mission in their title will be presented, distributed over 23 different scientific sessions - testifying to the diversity within the Kepler community. Five special Kepler sessions will be spread over three days of the meeting - 1) "Zeroing in on eta-Earth with NASA's Kepler Mission" at 10am, Jan 8, 2) "Planets and Planetary Systems Identified by Kepler" at 2pm, Jan 8, 3) "Astrophysics with Kepler's High Precision Photometry I" at 10am, Jan 9, 4) "Astrophysics with Kepler's High Precision Photometry II" at 2pm Jan 9 and 5) "Kepler Exoplanets" at 10am, Jan 10. There is a Kepler booth in the exhibition hall where we encourage you to tarry with the Science and Technical Teams, bring your questions, concerns and ideas and identify funding sources and scientific opportunities with Kepler. At 6.30pm on Jan 7, there is the "NASA Kepler Mission Town Hall" which will present the Kepler project plans for the extended mission recently granted by NASA. These include significant changes in the data release policy, availability of new project products, avenues for community involvement via the Kepler Participating Scientist Program and Guest Observer program, as well as the role of the MAST and NExScI archives. Please come join us for this town hall reception, meet the Kepler team, and learn about the future mission plans for both planet discovery and astrophysics using Kepler data. A Kepler press release has been organized for 10.30am, Jan 7.

KEPLER WORKING GROUPS
JAN 04, 2013

In the extended mission, post-2012, the Kepler Project fosters self-governing working groups of community scientists to advance and recommend upon aspects of primary mission science. Working groups also collaborate on science projects that are complementary to the primary science goals. The following is a list of the groups that are currently active:

  1. Threshold Crossing Event Review Team (TCERT)
  2. The Followup Observing Program (FOP)
  3. False Positive Identification (FP)
  4. Stellar Properties (STARS)
  5. Asteroseismology (KASC)
  6. Transit Timing Variations (TTV)
  7. Eclipsing Binaries (EB)

Short descriptions of the group's area of interest as well as a contact email for those of you interested in participating or obtaining more information can be found here. Individuals interested in forming new Working Groups related to the detection, confirmation, and characterization of exoplanets and/or the determination of planet occurrence rates can contact the Kepler Mission Scientist (Natalie Batalha) for information. Working group members are kept abreast of project activities via team telecons (~ 6 times per year). They participate in the evaluation of short-cadence targets each quarter for analyses related to the primary mission goals. Working group members are also invited to attend bi-annual meetings (held at least once per year in Mountain View, CA).

Active working groups related to primary mission science have representation on the Kepler Exoplanet Council (KEC). The council provides recommendations to the Kepler project and acts as a liaison to the broader scientific community with regards to the primary exoplanet goals of the mission.

MINUTES AND PRESENTATIONS FROM THE NOVEMBER MEETING OF THE KEPLER USERS' PANEL
JAN 02, 2013

The Kepler Users' Panel (KUP) met on Nov 28-29, 2012 at the NASA Ames Research Center. The panel comprises independent scientists from the Kepler community who provide support, insight, and perspectives on mission policies, progress and products to facilitate community exploitation of Kepler data. They were presented with status reports and plans for the extended Kepler mission. Presentations and the KUPs discussion and recommendations to project management are available here.

MORE PIXEL RESOURCES NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE CYCLE 5 GO PROGRAM
DEC 21, 2012

As of Q18, the Kepler project will cease collecting data from the background superapertures as an integral part of the exoplanet survey. Since Q5, Kepler has collected long-cadence data from large apertures on each CCD module output, containing 2,160 pixels (9.5 sq. arcmin) over areas of sky devoid of bright targets. Across 80 superaperture regions, the total number of pixels used is 172,800. The purpose of these superapertures was to provide a means to measure the occurrence rate of faint eclipsing binaries, and use this to assess the density of false positive planet candidates resulting from background binary star contamination. After consultation with community working groups however, consensus indicates that eclipsing binary statistics from such data will not provide particularly powerful constraints for false positive estimates.

The Kepler project is therefore offering future use of these pixels to the exoplanet and astrophysics communities through the Guest Observer program. These pixels will be available starting cycle 5 (Q18; Jun 2013). The pixels will be awarded to, or shared between, the most compelling science-based GO proposals by an independent target allocation committee. The deadline for proposals to this cycle is Jan 18, 2013. Proposers may wish to justify why the superapertures should continue being used for the purpose of background binary star statistics, or alternatively justify entirely different science goals for these resources. Proposers may wish to justify why the superapertures must continue collecting data from the same areas of sky that they have been observing since Q5, or alternatively proposers can justify why data from entirely new pixels should be collected. Superapertures can be placed anywhere across the field of view, randomly, uniformly, clustered or joined to create even larger single pixel apertures.

If no compelling science proposals are provided by the exoplanet or astrophysics communities, then the pixel resources will be used for individual target collection instead of superapertures. However, the increase to the GO program quota in such an instance will only be 320 individual targets because that will be the additional space available in the target buffer onboard the spacecraft. As always, send questions concerning these resources and the GO program to the .

Q1-Q16 SHORT-CADENCE OBSERVING LOG
DEC 21, 2012

An observing log that lists all short-cadence targets observed each quarter by Kepler since the start of mission can be found here. The log is a text file with one object per line. Each line contains three columns: the KepID, a bit string showing the number of months each target was observed each quarter (0 to 3), and the total number of months observed. The present log reports observations done (or planned) for Q0-Q16 but will be regenerated on a quarterly basis. Scientists preparing cycle 5 (Q18-21) short-cadence science proposals for the Guest Observer Program (deadline Jan 18) will find this log a particularly useful resource. The target allocation committee will ask whether proposed science is feasible with existing data and proposals should address this question directly.

SPRING SCHOOL OF SPECTROSCOPIC DATA ANALYSES
DEC 17, 2012

Asteroseismology has greatly benefited from space missions such as Kepler, CoRoT and MOST. Data of unprecedented quality have challenged both observers and theorists, allowing to improve our knowledge of stars significantly. However, during this process it became very clear that ground-based follow-up spectroscopy is crucial to allow an in-depth seismic study, as it provides information on different stellar parameters. The aim of the Spring School of Spectroscopic Data Analyses, taking place from Apr 8-12, 2013 at the Astronomical Institute of the University of Wroclaw (Poland) is to provide (young) researches with an introduction to methods of determination of atmospheric parameters of B, A, F and G type stars. The lecture topics will include determination of atmospheric models and synthetic spectra (Kurucz's ATLAS9, ATLAS12 and SYNTHE codes), application of LTE and NLTE analysis (DETAIL and SURFACE codes) and analysis of high- and low-resolution data. The practical exercises will not only allow the participants to learn how to compute atmospheric models and synthetic spectra, but also how to determine the atmospheric parameters (effective temperature, surface gravity, microturbulence, etc.), abundances of chemical elements and parameter describing stellar rotation. Lectures will be held by experienced scientists who are actively working on stellar atmospheres. The aim of this workshop is a close interaction between the lecturers and the participants. The school is primarily intended for Ph.D. students and postdocs, but everybody interested in learning the methods of spectroscopic data analysis is welcome. The school is an initiative of the KASC (Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium). More information about the school is available here.

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT: KASC6 - A NEW ERA OF STELLAR ASTROPHYSICS WITH KEPLER
DEC 14, 2012

The next Kepler conference held by the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium will be held in Sydney, Australia over Jun 23-28, 2013. Attendance is open to both members of the consortium and non-members from the stellar scientific community. The main themes of the conference will be Stellar structure and evolution, Stellar activity and rotation, Binary stars, and connections to Extrasolar planets, but we welcome any abstract submissions that are related to Kepler data, including theoretical work within these fields. This event offers a great opportunity for scientists to establish new links within research fields that have experienced dramatic progress in recent years due to space missions like Kepler, particularly stellar astrophysics and planet science. Find the conference website at kasc6.com.

Q1-Q12 THRESHOLD CROSSING EVENTS AT THE EXOPLANET ARCHIVE
DEC 13, 2012

The increasing baseline of the Kepler data archive provides increasing sensitivity to smaller planets with longer orbital periods. However, the longer baseline also increases the number of astrophysical and non-astrophysical artifacts impeding detection of the planets in the most interesting regions of parameter space. The process of distinguishing planetary candidates from false positive detections requires careful analysis of both the flux time series and pixel data provided by Kepler. This process produces well-vetted catalogs of Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) in refereed publications (see e.g. Batalha et al. 2012), but introduces substantial delays between the time when data is gathered and when the results are distributed.

In order to substantially reduce the time between data gathering and the distribution of results, the transition between the Kepler primary mission (2009-2012) and the Kepler extended mission (2012-) implements a major change in the data delivery process and community participation. The previous primary mission practice of delaying release of a KOI catalog until the accompanying catalog paper has been submitted to a refereed journal has ended. The new extended mission process is designed to eliminate most of the delay between data gathering and release of potential planet candidates detected with Kepler. To do so, the process of KOI identification, disposition into planetary candidates and false positives, and characterization of physical planet parameters will be conducted openly within the NASA Exoplanet Archive. Community scientists will be able to follow and participate in the process starting with the initial delivery of pipeline products, through identification of KOIs from the pipeline products, dispositioning of KOIs into planet candidates and false positives, and uniform data modeling.

The earliest form of a planet candidate results from the identification of a potential transit signal by the Kepler pipeline in the form of a Threshold Crossing Event (TCE). Each TCE is designated by the Kepler ID of the target hosting the potential planet candidate and the event's ephemeris. During the extended mission, the project will release comprehensive tables of TCEs identified by periodic pipeline runs. The majority of TCEs will be observational or processing artifacts rather than a good planet candidates. In addition to identifying the TCEs, the pipeline performs many automated statistical tests on the Kepler flux time series and pixel-data in order to provide information that helps to discriminate between TCEs that are planet candidates and those that are false positives. These Data Validation (DV) data products are delivered at the same time as the TCE tables and archive users can employ these DV products to test the transiting planet hypothesis for each target.

The backend of the pipeline that produces these products will be run 1-2 times per year with all available mission data at that time. Products will be delivered to the archive without delay, before the TCE table has been analyzed by the Kepler Project. The first extended mission delivery of a TCE table and DV reports has been generated from the Q1-Q12 light curves. It contains 18,406 TCEs from 11,108 unique targets, found within a sample of 192,312 survey targets. Scientific opportunities for the community from this delivery include:

  1. Identifying new planetary candidates from the TCE tables and DV products.
  2. Identifying targets of interest for ground- and space-based follow-up observations from the TCE table.
  3. Harvesting new yields of TCEs, KOIs, planetary candidates and planetary false positives independent of the Kepler Project. Independent yields are critical for assessing the reliability of the Kepler pipeline and other community work.

NASA ROSES OPPORTUNITY: THE KEPLER PARTICIPATING SCIENTIST PROGRAM
DEC 13, 2012

The Kepler Participating Scientist Program (PSP) is designed to fund community investigations that advance the goals of the Kepler Mission during its extended phase. Participating Scientists may pursue data processing and analysis tasks, exoplanet candidate follow-up observations, completeness and reliability studies, characterization of the stellar target sample, etc. Notices of intent are requested by January 18, 2013, and the due date for proposals is March 1, 2013. Technical questions regarding the Kepler extended mission and key science project activities may be directed to: Dr. Steve Howell, Kepler Project Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center, MS 244-30 Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000. E-mail: steve.b.howell@nasa.gov; Telephone: (650) 604-4238. The NASA point of contact for programmatic information is Dr. Douglas Hudgins, Astrophysics Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546-0001. Telephone: (202) 358-0988; E-mail: douglas.m.hudgins@nasa.gov

THREE NEW DATA ANALYSIS TOOLS ADDED TO THE PYKE PACKAGE
DEC 12, 2012

Version 2.3.0 of the PyKE data analysis software contains three new tools:

DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY TARGETS FOR QUARTER 16
NOV 30, 2012

The upcoming Jan 6 quarterly roll defines the boundary between Kepler operational quarters 15 and 16. New target lists have been delivered and approved for upload to the spacecraft. Available GO pixel resources allowed a number of Director's Discretionary Targets to be added to the observing program:

INVID KEPID PI CAD. TITLE
GO40101 9535405 Howell LC SINGLE WHITE DWARF WITH ROTATING HOT SPOTS
GO40102 11412044 Lintott LC PLANETHUNTERS.ORG DISCOVERED DWARF NOVA
GO40102 5565606 Lintott LC PLANETHUNTERS.ORG DISCOVERED DWARF NOVA
GO40102 10678185 Lintott LC PLANETHUNTERS.ORG DISCOVERED DWARF NOVA
GO40103 7729019 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7798187 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7936228 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7416700 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7582708 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7730297 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7868547 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40104 9071514 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 3952037 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 7524178 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 7680833 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 4761507 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 8625249 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 6691294 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 6615102 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 12062071 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 11701965 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 12984288 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 8482611 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 7102641 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 4843809 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40108 11124589 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 10000650 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 6431170 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 5865248 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 5522356 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 7025613 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 10069188 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 8622524 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 6939336 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40108 3750281 Martin LC NEW LOW MASS M AND L STARS
GO40110 3426313 Howell LC NEW CATACLYSMIC VARIABLE FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40110 8490027 Howell LC NEW CATACLYSMIC VARIABLE FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 10149875 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 7346018 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 9228724 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 7797992 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 6672883 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 8244398 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 10213347 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 10356860 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 8751336 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 11822524 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 11509531 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 8612751 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 6042560 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 3751235 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 8210423 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 11176123 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 9790337 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40111 9083864 Howell LC NEW WHITE DWARF FROM THE UBV SURVEY
GO40041 5597763 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11649441 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 3730597 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7523720 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7888018 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11614932 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10879978 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11615602 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10545080 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11615872 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 9664001 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 4247703 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11021406 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10798894 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7903237 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7334759 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 4356027 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 5699094 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10070645 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 9339957 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10337840 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11245788 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 6208061 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 5795689 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 5801668 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 8108709 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7622125 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11413175 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11671775 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10091441 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 4772921 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10098858 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN

ABSOLUTE TIMING ERROR IN KEPLER TIME SERIES DATA
NOV 28, 2012

The barycentric times currently reported in the TIME columns and the headers of all Kepler data products have an error. The times are reported in the UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) system, not in TDB (Barycentric Dynamical Time) as the headers of the files state. As a result the time stamps are incorrect by approximately one minute: the sum of the number of leap seconds and the offset between Atomic Time (TAI) and Terrestrial Time (TT). Except for the addition of one leap second in Q14, the reported times are internally consistent and this error is only apparent when comparing Kepler times to other observations with timing accuracies better than a couple of minutes. However, all Kepler results that report an absolute barycentric time (e.g., the epoch of a planet transit) have this error, including those reported in published papers and in the Kepler archives at MAST and NExScI.

The following data file types at MAST are affected: ffi_cal, ffi_uncert, lpd-targ, spd-targ, llc, slc, and bkg. The Kepler times can be corrected to the TDB system by adding 66.184 seconds to the reported barycentric times for all cadence numbers less than or equal to 57,139 in LC (1,702,663 in SC). For times after this cadence, add 67.184 seconds. This cadence was taken during the first month of Q14 at the time of the most recent leap second, UTC 2012-06-30 23:59:60. This simple additive correction does not account for the relativistic correction between the UTC and TDB systems, which is of order 1.6 ms and significantly less than the 50 ms precision of the Kepler clock. The Kepler project will correct this error during a future reprocessing effort in mid 2013. Meanwhile, Kepler will continue reporting all epochs and periods in the current time system until the data files at MAST can be uniformly corrected. When the Kepler times have been corrected, users will be alerted via data release notes, this web site, and statements in published papers.

QUARTER 13 LIGHT CURVES, TARGET PIXEL FILES AND COTRENDING BASIS VECTORS NOW AT MAST
OCT 23, 2012

Quarter 13 light curves and target pixel files are now available to GOs and the Kepler Science Team via the Archive Data Search and Retrieval page at MAST. Q13 covers the period Mar 29, 2012 to Jun 27, 2012 and comprises the final quarter of cycle 3 Guest Observer observations. Q13 light curves are delivered as both calibrated Simple Aperture Photometry (SAP) and Pre-search Data Conditioned (PDC) form. PDC reduces instrumental and systematic photometric artifacts while retaining intrinsic astrophysics within the time series data. The PDC pipeline module identifies the common photometric structure over a large sample of Kepler sources local to your target, constructs cotrending basis vectors to characterize the common variability, and employs these to fit and remove systematics from individual light curves. In individual cases where PDC provides a non-optimal solution or where users have re-extracted photometry from a target pixel file, archive users have the data and software resources to re-perform artifact mitigation with customized, target-specific criteria using canned cotrending basis vectors and available cotrending software. Data Release Note 18 documents the quality of quarter 13 data.

THE QUASIPERIODIC AUTOMATED TRANSIT SEARCH ALGORITHM
OCT 19, 2012

In a paper submitted to ApJ, Joshua Carter and Eric Agol present an algorithm for detecting transiting extrasolar planets in time-series photometry. The Quasiperiodic Automated Transit Search (QATS) algorithm relaxes the assumption of strictly periodic transits by permitting a variable, but bounded, interval between successive transits. Applications of QATS include transiting planets in dynamically active multi-planet systems and transiting planets in stellar binary systems. Source code and documentation are available for download.

JUN 2013 WORKSHOP: MODERN STATISTICAL AND COMPUTATIONAL ANALYSIS OF KEPLER DATA
OCT 14, 2012

This three week mini-research program will focus on statistical and computational challenges associated with analyzing exoplanet data from NASA's Kepler mission. The first day (Monday, Jun 10, 2013) will consist of 20-30 min invited talks chosen 1) to highlight key problems that can be addressed using Kepler data, 2) to help participants understand the nature of Kepler data, and 3) to provide an introduction to selected statistical methods that are likely to be applied during the program. On the morning of the second day (Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013), all participants who did not give an invited talk would introduce themselves (5-10 min) to the group. Astronomers will be encouraged to identify statistical challenges that they hope to make progress on during their visit and could become a focus for one of the working groups during this program. Statisticians will be encouraged to identify tools that they think could be applied to one or more of the problems identified on the first day. Participants will organize themselves into three working groups during the afternoon of the second day. For the remainder of the mini-research program, each participant will be expected to join one or two of three working groups for intensive research collaboration among astronomers and statisticians. Most of the participant's time will be devoted to collaborative research. We anticipate that each focus group would meet for 1-1.5 hours daily to discuss progress and challenges. The final day (Friday, Jun 28, 2013), will be an event for program participants to present their results, as well as plans for continued investigation or collaboration beyond the SAMSI mini-research program.

KEPLER QUARTER 14-15 ROLL PROCEDURE EXECUTED
OCT 03, 2012

The data gap for monthly data download and spacecraft roll began on Oct 3. Science operations and data collection resumed on Oct 4 after a 26 hour break in science collection. These events mark the boundary between operational quarters 14 and 15. Quarter 14 data is scheduled to be pipeline-reduced delivered to the Kepler archive during Feb, 2012. Guest Observer targets being observed during quarter 15 are tabulated here.

NASA RESEARCH ANNOUNCEMENT FOR KEPLER GUEST OBSERVER CYCLE 5 IS AMENDED AND ONLINE
OCT 01, 2012

NASA solicits proposals for the acquisition and analysis of new scientific data from the Kepler mission. Cycle 5 will be the first full cycle of GO observations in Kepler's extended mission phase, and with that transition the scope of the program has now been expanded to include proposals for exoplanet and exoplanet-related scientific observations. Specifically, under Cycle 5, the Kepler GO program is open to:

  1. proposals addressing any area of astrophysics outside of the exoplanet Key Project study;
  2. proposals for short cadence observations of known exoplanet candidates that are not currently being observed in short cadence; and
  3. proposals for long cadence observations of new targets for the identification of planets transits.

Notices of Intent are requested by Dec 7, 2012, and proposals are due by Jan 18, 2013. Technical questions concerning this research opportunity may be directed to: Martin Still, Kepler Guest Observer Office, NASA Ames Research Center, MS 244-30 Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000. E-mail: keplergo@mail.arc.nasa.gov; Telephone: (650) 604-2018. NASA point of contact for programmatic information is Dr. Douglas Hudgins Astrophysics Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546-0001. Telephone: (202) 358-0988; E-mail: douglas.m.hudgins@nasa.gov

UPGRADED KEPLER TARGET SEARCH FORM AT MAST
SEP 25, 2012

The Kepler Target Search page at MAST has been upgraded. Users will find the same stars and stellar characteristics from the Kepler Input Catalog (KIC) on the retrieval page for the same query as with the old search page. However new cross-matched targets can be accessed by changing the selection in the "Catalogs" menu button from "KIC Targets only" to "KIC + UBV + KIS Targets" or "Targets from all catalogs" - this last button provides many more targets from the GALEX UV field, the Everett-Howell-Kinemuchi UBV catalog, the Kepler-INT Survey (ugriHα), KIC (griz), UKIRT J and 2MASS JHK catalogs. The UBV and Kepler-INT surveys increases the photometric depth of the source catalog, approach the confusion limit of Kepler and for the first time provide uniform U and narrow Hα band target photometry. MAST have increased the default Target Search Radius in order to avoid missing nearby potentially "associated" targets that generally are not identical matches to their nearest neighbors. The Explanations link takes you to background on the new form, including matching criteria for targets across the various catalogs and a comparison of photometry in the different catalogs. The onus lies upon the scientific community to mine this new table for targets of interest and propose new science through the Guest Observer Program (cycle 5 deadline Jan 18, 2013).

PILOT SWIFT X-RAY AND UV SURVEY OF THE KEPLER FIELD
SEP 22, 2012

During the summer of 2012, the Swift X-ray and UV orbiting observatory has performed a pilot survey of three modules within the Kepler field. Numerous X-ray sources have been detected for the first time, most likely dominated by active stars, accreting stars and active galactic nuclei. To obtain all data collected by this survey - images, light curves, spectra and source lists - perform a 10 degree Swift-specific cone search around the J2000 coordinates RA = 279.98160, Dec = 43.591179 at the HEASARC search facility.

KEPLER-RELATED PROGRAMS IN THE 2012 ADAP PROGRAM
SEP 18, 2012

The 2012 ROSES Astrophysics Data Analysis Program (ADAP) received 292 proposals, of which 25 were identified to have the Kepler archive as the primary data resource for their investigation. Of those 25 proposals, 8 have been selected for funding and 2 are being held in pending status until such time as the NASA FY13 ADAP budget is finalized. The selection rate of Kepler proposals is 32-40%. The success rate for the ADAP program generally is 30%. Of the 8 proposals currently selected, 6 are 3-year proposals, one is a 2-year proposal, and one is a 1-year proposal. The selections total up to about $950K in Year 1, and about $2.5M total summed over the duration of the awards.

KEPLER TEAM GROUND-BASED FOLLOW-UP DATA OF KEPLER OBJECTS OF INTEREST NOW IN THE CFOP ARCHIVE
SEP 17, 2012

Data and information collected before Dec 31, 2011 by the Kepler exoplanet candidate follow-up team are now available to the public on the Community Follow-up Observing Program (CFOP) website. The archived data includes:

  • Over 30,000 files, including spectra and images
  • Over 3000 observing notes
  • 940 stellar parameter sets

Additionally the archive has created a listing of nearby UBV catalog sources around each Kepler Object of Interest (KOI) from the Everett, Howell & Kinemuchi (2012) WIYN survey and include the corresponding full UBV images. If you have questions contact cfop@ipac.caltech.edu.

FUTURE MEETING: EXOPLANETS IN MULTI-BODY SYSTEMS IN THE KEPLER ERA, FEB 9-16, 2013 - ASPEN, CO, USA
SEP 13, 2012

Rationale: For centuries, theories of planet formation were guided exclusively by our solar system. However, the discovery of planets orbiting other stars in the past two decades has demonstrated that nature often produces planetary systems quite different from our own, neither anticipated by nor well explained by the current theories of solar system formation and dynamics. The diversity of planetary system architectures (the masses and orbital arrangements of planets) has confronted astronomers with many new challenges and reinvigorated the fields of planet formation and orbital dynamics. Among these challenges are planetary systems with multiple planets in close-in orbits, highly eccentric orbits, and planets in binary star systems. In this one week program, scientists from the fields of planetary science, celestial mechanics, astronomy and astrophysics will meet to discuss new developments in the field of extrasolar multi-planet systems. The goal of our workshop is to provide an environment where these scientists can present new ideas, discuss their implications for identifying the most important problems in the field and chart the field’s future direction. Meeting information is provided here.

REMINDER TO PROPOSE QUARTER 16 TARGETS FOR THE DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY PROGRAM
SEP 13, 2012

The deadline is already approaching (Oct 24) for you to propose additional targets for quarter 16 observing through the discretionary target program. It is a long 9 months before you can observe new targets through the grant-funded cycle 5 Guest Observer Program. But if you can't wait, the discretionary program can also be used to respond to targets of opportunity, provide a mechanism for pilot studies, and enhance existing GO or KASC programs with additional data.

THE IMPACT OF CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS UPON THE KEPLER DATA ARCHIVE
SEP 10, 2012

As we approach a solar maximum, Kepler data quality is occasionally being degraded by Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). Q12, for example, was affected by three CMEs. Within archived light curve and target pixel files, cadences impacted by the CME are marked with the Manual Exclude flag (0x09, decimal 256) in the SAP_QUALITY column of the light-curve files and the QUALITY column in the target pixel files. Users are urged to consider the impact of using data collected during these events, see Data Release Note (DRN) 17 for more Q12 specific information. During CMEs, the flux of charged particles from the sun impacting the spacecraft increases by many orders of magnitude, causing an increase in measured dark current, as well as the “cosmic ray” count. The fine guidance sensors are also impacted, so the pointing of the spacecraft deviates from the nominal value by many milli-pixels. Users should note that the detector undergoes some long-term changes after CMEs. In particular a small number of pixels show a pronounced drop in sensitivity after the largest CMEs. When a target star falls on one or more of these pixels, the mean measured flux will be lower after the CME than before. In the majority of such cases, the pixel-sensitivity dropout corrector in PDC is confused by these discontinuities because of the intervening gapped cadences. PDC can only correct global systematic errors and thus these sensitivity drop outs cannot be dealt with effectively by the algorithm. Hence, PDC fails to correct most of them and often introduces additional low-frequency artifacts into the light curve.

DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY TARGETS FOR QUARTER 15
SEP 05, 2012

The upcoming Oct 3 quarterly roll defines the boundary between Kepler operational quarters 14 and 15. New target lists have been delivered and approved for upload to the spacecraft. GO investigators owning Q15 data will be notified of their target lists shortly. In addition, available GO pixel resources allowed a number of Director's Discretionary Targets to be added to the observing program:

INVID KEPID PI CAD. TITLE
GO40101 9535405 Howell LC SINGLE WHITE DWARF WITH ROTATING HOT SPOTS
GO40102 11412044 Schwamb LC PLANETHUNTERS.ORG DISCOVERED DWARF NOVA
GO40103 7729019 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7798187 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7936228 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7416700 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7582708 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7730297 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40103 7868547 Boyd LC BRIGHT X-RAY SOURCE IN THE SWIFT-KEPLER SURVEY
GO40104 9071514 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 3952037 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 7524178 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 7680833 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 4761507 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 8625249 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 6691294 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 6615102 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 12062071 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 11701965 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 12984288 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 8482611 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 7102641 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40104 4843809 Scaringi LC KEPLER-INT SURVEY CV AND AGN CANDIDATES
GO40105 10132702 Greiss SC KEPLER-INT SURVEY ZZ CETI STAR
GO40106 4377815 Ramsay SC RATS-SELECTED RAPID DELTA-SCUTI STAR
GO40106 9364179 Ramsay SC RATS-SELECTED RAPID DELTA-SCUTI STAR
GO40106 8120184 Ramsay SC RATS-SELECTED RAPID DELTA-SCUTI STAR
GO40041 5597763 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11649441 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 3730597 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7523720 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7888018 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11614932 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10879978 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11615602 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10545080 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11615872 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 9664001 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 4247703 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11021406 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10798894 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7903237 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7334759 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 4356027 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 5699094 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10070645 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 9339957 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10337840 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11245788 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 6208061 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 5795689 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 5801668 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 8108709 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7622125 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11413175 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11671775 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10091441 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 4772921 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10098858 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN

KEPLER MEETING-IN-A-MEETING AT AAS #221, JAN 2013, LONG BEACH, CA
AUG 15, 2012

Please consider contributing talks or posters to the Kepler meeting-in-a-meeting sessions the Jan 2013 meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The four sessions are:
The Exoplanet Census from Kepler
NASA's Kepler Mission is designed to determine the frequency of earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone of solar-like stars. Collected over the last 3 years three years, nearly continuous precise photometry on more than 150,000 stars will be available to the public on Oct 28, 2012, in addition to a catalog of well over two thousand planet candidates. This session will present the current status of the Kepler mission and its exoplanet survey, including the statistics of exoplanet populations, and the completeness and reliability of the planet candidate catalogs.
Planets and Planetary Systems with Kepler
This session will present results from specific classes of exoplanets and exoplanet systems, giving their characteristics, prevalence, and distributions. Both theory and observational talks will cover Earth-size and sub-Neptune-size planets, giant planet characterization, multiple planet systems, and the dynamics of planetary systems.
Astrophysics with Kepler I and II
Kepler's precision and time coverage offer a unique opportunity for astrophysical studies of stars, from detailed analyses of individual sources, to ensemble studies at unprecedented precision. Kepler's Guest Observer program and the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium offer opportunities for observers to both select targets and to harvest science from the data archive. Talks in the two sessions will cover asteroseismic results from stars across the HR diagram, eclipsing and interacting binary stars, stellar activity and rotation, non-stellar sources and extragalactic sources.
Additionally, the Kepler Project Scientist will run a town-hall meeting discussing the status of the mission and future science direction and opportunities.

THE SAGAN POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
AUG 08, 2012

The NASA Exoplanet Science Institute solicits applications for the Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship Program to begin in the Fall of 2013. The Sagan Fellowships support outstanding recent postdoctoral scientists to conduct independent research that is broadly related to the science goals of the NASA Exoplanet Exploration area. The primary goal of missions within this program is to discover and characterize planetary systems and Earth-like planets around nearby stars. The proposed research may be theoretical, observational, or instrumental. The program is open to applicants of any nationality who have earned (or will have earned) their doctoral degrees on or after Jan 1, 2010, in astronomy, physics, or related disciplines. The fellowships are tenable at U.S. host institutions of the fellows' choice. The duration of the fellowship is up to three years: an initial one-year appointment and two annual renewals contingent on satisfactory performance and availability of NASA funds. The Announcement of Opportunity, which includes detailed program policies and application instructions is available at the NExScI web site. The deadline for applications and letters of reference is Nov 1, 2012.

VERSION 2 OF THE KEPLER FALSE POSITIVE TABLE IS AVAILABLE AT MAST AND NEXSCI
AUG 03, 2012

This table ingested at the MAST and NExScI contains the identified false positive Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) as of May 12, 2012. The objects in this table exhibit time-series features similar to planet transits in their Kepler light curves, but there is significant basis for doubting that these features are in fact due to planets orbiting the target star indicated by the Kepler ID. The false positive identification methods are provided in Batalha et al. (2012).

KEPLER IS OPERATING WITH THREE REACTION WHEELS
JUL 24, 2012

the Kepler spacecraft experienced an anomaly on Jul 13. The system experienced anomalous pointing performance and fell out of fine-point, with the result that valid science data was no longer being collected. Reaction wheel number 2 (of 4) stopped responding to onboard torque commands. The system as designed allows for three-wheel operation that meets all science objectives. The health and safety of the spacecraft has been verified, wheel 2 was removed from the control set. Pointing performance immediately improved and the spacecraft was returned to science attitude. Fine-point was re-established on Jul 19 and science observations resumed before the end of the contact.

QUARTER 12 LIGHT CURVES, TARGET PIXEL FILES AND COTRENDING BASIS VECTORS NOW AT MAST
JUL 20, 2012

Quarter 12 light curves and target pixel files are now available to GOs and the Kepler Science Team via the Archive Data Search and Retrieval page at MAST. Q12 covers the period Jan 5, 2012 to Mar 28, 2012 and comprises the third quarter of cycle 3 Guest Observer observations. Q12 light curves are delivered as both calibrated Simple Aperture Photometry (SAP) and Pre-search Data Conditioned (PDC) form. PDC reduces instrumental and systematic photometric artifacts while retaining intrinsic astrophysics within the time series data. The PDC pipeline module identifies the common photometric structure over a large sample of Kepler sources local to your target, constructs cotrending basis vectors to characterize the common variability, and employs these to fit and remove systematics from individual light curves. In individual cases where PDC provides a non-optimal solution or where users have re-extracted photometry from a target pixel file, archive users have the data and software resources to re-perform artifact mitigation with customized, target-specific criteria using canned cotrending basis vectors and available cotrending software. Data Release Note 17 documents the quality of quarter 12 data.

BULK DOWNLOADS OF ARCHIVED TARGET PIXEL FILES NOW AVAILABLE VIA FTP
JUL 18, 2012

As with public Kepler light curves, full frame images and cotrending basis vectors, the public Kepler target pixel files are now available for bulk download from MAST via ftp. In addition, convenient wget scripts can now be generated by the data search form.

REMINDER TO PROPOSE QUARTER 15 TARGETS FOR THE DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY PROGRAM
JUL 08, 2012

The deadline is already approaching (Jul 24) for you to propose additional targets for quarter 15 observing through the discretionary target program. It is a long 11 months before you can observe new targets through the grant-funded cycle 5 Guest Observer Program. But if you can't wait, the discretionary program can also be used to respond to targets of opportunity, provide a mechanism for pilot studies, and enhance existing GO or KASC programs with additional data.

NEW SOURCE SURVEYS OF THE KEPLER FIELD
JUL 08, 2012

Two new ground-based source surveys targeting the Kepler field are now online. The Kepler Input Catalog (KIC), containing griz magnitudes of field stars, becomes increasingly incomplete at Kepler bandpass magnitudes Kp > 18. The Howell-Everett UBV Photometric Survey covers the full field and is complete to U < 18.7, B < 19.3, and V < 19.1. The first release of the Kepler-INT Survey (KIS) cover 50 square degrees of the field in U, g, r, i and Hα, reaching down to a 10-σ limit of 20th mag - approaching the point source confusion limit of the Kepler instrument. Both new resources increase the surveyed depth across optical bandpasses and provides blue and Hα diagnostics for finding the hot stellar and extragalactic populations within the Kepler field. Scientists are encouraged to propose for Guest Observer and Director's Discretionary Targets on Kepler to follow-up new sources of interest harvested from the UBV and KIS surveys. If a proposed UBV or KIS source does not match any source within the KIC (e.g. due to faintness), proposers will be required to create a custom pixel mask for their target.

PyKE DATA ANALYSIS TOOLS NOW IN STANDALONE PYTHON
JUL 01, 2012

Prior to version 2.2, the PyKE suite of Kepler data reduction tools was developed as a subpackage of the IRAF and PyRAF software systems. The labyrinthine installation instructions of these two systems was proving bewildering to many Kepler users, particularly on linux machines. While users will continue to have the ability to operate PyKE as a PYRAF package, as of version 2.2 PyKE can be installed without IRAF or PyRAF dependencies, can be executed from the command line of your shell environment and can be included within shell scripts.

PyKE PLOTTING WOES ON LINUX MACHINES HAVE BEEN SOLVED
JUL 01, 2012

Prior to version 2.2, many users of the PyKE software tools were finding an incongruous feature of the tools that prevented plots being rendered to their monitor screens. The problem was specific to certain flavors of Linux and UNIX. This bug has now been remedied. Linux and UNIX users should download the latest version of the tools to avoid this problem.

PyKE CONCEPTS AND WALKTROUGH EXAMPLES
JUL 01, 2012

A primer and walkthrough examples for PyKE and Kepler data reduction are now online. A companion paper (Kinemuchi et al. 2012) has been accepted for publication in PASP.

KEPLER QUARTER 13-14 ROLL PROCEDURE EXECUTED
JUN 28, 2012

The data gap for monthly data download and spacecraft roll began on Jun 27. Science operations and data collection resumed on Jun 28 after a 26 hour break in science collection. These events mark the boundary between operational quarters 13 and 14. Quarter 13 data is scheduled to be pipeline-reduced delivered to the Kepler archive before Oct 28, 2012. Guest Observer targets being observed during quarter 14 are tabulated here.

KEPLER AT THE 220TH AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY MEETING - ANCHORAGE, AK
JUN 02, 2012

The 220th AAS meeting occurs over Jun 10-14 in Anchorage, AK. There will be a significant Kepler presence there. 28 talks and 12 posters directly related to Kepler data exploitation will be presented, distributed over 14 different scientific sessions - testifying to the diversity within the Kepler community. Four special Kepler sessions will be spread over two days of the meeting. There will be a Kepler booth #309 where we encourage you to tarry with the Science and Technical Teams and bring your questions, concerns and ideas. At 6.30pm on Jun 11, there is a town hall with beer, wine and food donated by Ball Aerospace: "The NASA Kepler Mission Town Hall: 2012 and Beyond". This Town Hall will present the Kepler project plans for the extended mission recently granted by NASA. These include significant changes in the data release policy, availability of new project products, avenues for community involvement via the Kepler Participating Scientist Program and Guest Observer program, as well as the role of the MAST and NExScI archives. Please come join us for this town hall reception, meet the Kepler team, and learn about the future mission plans for both planet discovery and astrophysics using Kepler data.

KEPLER TEAM SEEKING A KEPLER SUPPORT SCIENTIST
JUN 01, 2012

The SETI Institute is seeking an astronomer/scientist to assist Kepler during the Extended Mission. The successful candidate will become a member of the Kepler Science Office, located at the NASA-Ames Research Center. He/she will assist in the calibration and characterization of Kepler data, the on-going search for exoplanets, and the scientific interpretation and exploitation of the results. The Support Scientist will be encouraged to devote 20% of his/her time to independent astronomical research. Ideally, this research would involve active collaboration with other Kepler and community scientists, as appropriate. See the post description at the AAS Job Register.

Q5-Q8 REPROCESSED DATA AVAILABLE AT THE MAST
MAY 30, 2012

From SOC 8.1 processing, improved versions of pipeline-generated light curves and target pixel files for Kepler quarters 5 through 8 (i.e. Q5-Q8) are now available for download from the MAST. The associated Data Release 16 Notes describe the phenomena within the data over all four quarters. The most notable improvements are:

  • an improved detrending algorithm (PDC MAP) that removes instrumental artifacts while retaining astrophysical signals
  • the addition of the background flux time series
  • the addition of RMS CDPP measurements (a variant of photometric signal-to-noise) at 3, 6 and 12 hour time scales.

Updated Cotrending Basis Vectors, created from this newly reprocessed data, are available for download from the MAST. They can be found on the Ancillary Data page at MAST. Users should only apply CBVs to data with matching data release numbers. The Q5-Q8 full-frame images (FFIs) have also been reprocessed with improved astrometric calibration as outlined in the Data Release 14 Notes. New versions of the FFIs are available for download from the MAST. As of this delivery, all Q0-Q11 data will have been processed and made available through the MAST with a similar version of the Kepler pipeline.

THE KEPLER CYCLE 4 GUEST OBSERVER PROGRAM FINALIZED
MAY 29, 2012

Abstracts for the cycle 4 Guest Observer Program covering the period Jun 2012-Jun 2013 (Kepler quarters 14-17) are now online. The community are reminded to add programs to this list at any time through the Directors' Discretionary Target Program.

DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY TARGETS FOR QUARTER 14
MAY 29, 2011

The upcoming June quarterly roll defines the boundary between Kepler operational quarters 13 and 14. New target lists have been delivered and approved for upload to the spacecraft. Available GO pixel resources allowed a number of Director's Discretionary Targets to be added to the observing program:

INVID KEPID PI CAD. TITLE
GO40101 9535405 Howell SC SINGLE WHITE DWARF WITH ROTATING HOT SPOTS
GO40102 11412044 Schwamb LC PLANETHUNTERS.ORG DISCOVERED DWARF NOVA
GO40041 5597763 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11649441 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 3730597 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7523720 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 7888018 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 11614932 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN
GO40041 10879978 Edelson LC NEWLY IDENTIFIED AGN

QUARTER 11 LIGHT CURVES, TARGET PIXEL FILES AND COTRENDING BASIS VECTORS NOW AT MAST
MAY 03, 2012

Quarter 11 light curves and target pixel files are now available to GOs and the Kepler Science Team via the Archive Data Search and Retrieval page at MAST. Q11 covers the period Sep 29, 2011 to Jan 4, 2012 and comprises the second quarter of cycle 3 Guest Observer observations. Q11 is the eighth operational quarter of data to be delivered to the archive in the PDC MAP era. PDC MAP replaces the original PDC algorithms described in the Kepler Data Processing Handbook. The new functionality reduces instrumental and systematic photometric artifacts more effectively, while retaining more intrinsic astrophysics within the time series data. PDC MAP identifies the common photometric structure over a large sample of Kepler sources local to your target, constructs cotrending basis vectors to characterize the common variability, and employs these to fit and remove systematics from individual light curves. PDC MAP provides more reliable artifact mitigation for a larger sample of Kepler targets. In cases where PDC MAP provides a non-optimal solution or where users have re-extracted photometry from a target pixel file, archive users now have the data and software resources to re-perform artifact mitigation with customized, target-specific criteria using canned cotrending basis vectors and available cotrending software. Data Release Note 15 documents the quality of quarter 11 data.

KEPLER ARCHIVE MANUAL UPDATED
APR 27, 2012

A new version of the Kepler Archive Manual has been released. Version 4 describes the addition of new data products to the archive - the Artifact Removal Pixels file, background pixels file and collateral pixels file, and resources for advanced data searching.

2012 SENIOR REVIEW REPORT FOR OPERATING NASA MISSIONS
MAR 31, 2012

NASA hosted the Astrophysics Division Senior Review for its Operating Missions in Feb 2012. The purpose of this comparative review is to assist NASA in maximizing the scientific productivity from its Operating Missions. NASA will use the findings from the Senior Review to:

  • Prioritize the operating missions and projects
  • Define an implementation approach to achieve astrophysics strategic objectives
  • Provide programmatic direction to the missions and projects concerned for 2013 and 2014
  • Issue initial funding guidelines for 2015 and 2016 (to be revisited in the 2014 Senior Review)

Kepler has applied for an extended mission operations budget beyond Nov 2012 to this review. The report from the review panel is close at hand and will be available here.

KEPLER QUARTER 12-13 ROLL PROCEDURE EXECUTED
MAR 28, 2012

The data gap for monthly data download and spacecraft roll began on Mar 28. Science operations and data collection resumed on Mar 29. These events mark the boundary between operational quarters 12 and 13. Quarter 12 data is scheduled to be pipeline-reduced with version SOC 8.1 and scheduled for Kepler archive delivery before Jul 28, 2012.

Q0-Q4 REPROCESSED DATA AVAILABLE AT THE MAST
MAR 23, 2012

From SOC 8.0 processing, improved versions of pipeline-generated light curves and target pixel files for Kepler quarters 0 through 4 (i.e. Q0-Q4) are now available for download from the MAST. The associated Data Release 14 Notes describe the phenomena within the data over all five quarters. The most notable improvements are:

  • an improved detrending algorithm (PDC MAP) that removes instrumental artifacts while retaining astrophysical signals
  • the addition of the background flux time series
  • the addition of RMS CDPP measurements (a variant of photometric signal-to-noise) at 3, 6 and 12 hour time scales.

Updated Cotrending Basis Vectors, created from this newly reprocessed data, are available for download from the MAST. They can be found on the Ancillary Data page at MAST. Users should only apply CBVs to data with matching data release numbers. The Q2-Q4 full-frame images (FFIs) have also been reprocessed with improved astrometric calibration as outlined in the Data Release 14 Notes. New versions of the FFIs are available for download from the MAST. The Kepler project is currently reprocessing the Q5-Q8 data and expects to host it at the MAST by July 2012. After this delivery, all Q0-Q11 data will have been processed and made available through the MAST with a similar version of the Kepler pipeline.

CYCLE 2 KEPLER PARTICIPATING SCIENTIST PROGRAM ABSTRACTS ONLINE
MAR 21, 2012

NASA has selected funded proposals for cycle 2 of the Kepler Participating Scientists Program (PSP). The Kepler PSP is designed to augment the skill set of the Kepler Science Team, enabling the Team to more effectively execute the science program of the mission. Participating Scientists serve as members of the Kepler Science Team and participate in Science Team activities, such as data processing and analysis, transit candidate follow-up and characterization, and publication. Selected program abstracts are provided here.

KEPLER DATA CHARACTERISTICS HANDBOOK UPDATED
MAR 13, 2012

Version 3 of the Kepler Data Characteristics Handbook is available. The handbook provides a description of the systematic phenomena identified in the Kepler data, and an explanation for how these characteristics are currently handled by the data analysis pipeline. With each quarterly release of data and each release of reprocessed data, a set of Data Release Notes is produced that tabulates the phenomena unique to that data set. The motivation for this separation into static, explanatory text and a set of dynamic figures and tables is the hope that once the user becomes familiar with the Data Characteristics Handbook, with each quarterly release they need only peruse the short Notes for that quarter.

PLANETARY CANDIDATES DETECTED BY KEPLER DURING THE FIRST 16 MONTHS OF DATA COLLECTION
FEB 28, 2012

1,091 new transiting planet candidates have emerged from analysis of Kepler spacecraft data spanning May 2009 to September 2010, bringing the total count to 2,321 Kepler planet candidates orbiting 1,790 host stars. The fraction of host stars with multiple candidates has grown from 17% to 20%. The cumulative catalog now contains over 200 Earth-size planet candidates and more than 900 super-Earths. Of the 46 planet candidates found in the habitable zone, 10 are near-Earth-size. A clear trend toward smaller planets at longer orbital periods is evident with each new catalog release. This suggests that Earth-size planets in the habitable zone are forthcoming if, indeed, such planets are abundant. Data and sample analyses are presented in Batalha et al. (2012). An updated table of planet candidates is archived within the Kepler data archive at MAST, and a sortable, filterable table with orbital ephemeris and light curve folding tools at NExScI's Exoplanet Archive.

NEW PLANET CANDIDATES FROM THE PLANET HUNTERS CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECT
FEB 28, 2012

The Planet Hunters citizen science project has identified 2 new exoplanet candidates in Kepler quarter 2 data (Lintott et al. 2012). The orbital periods of the planet candidates are 97.46 days (KIC 4552729) and 284.03 (KIC 10005758) days and the modeled planet radii are 5.3 and 3.8 REarth. The discovery of these candidates illustrates the value of massively distributed volunteer review of the Kepler database to recover candidates which were otherwise uncatalogued.

2012B NASA KECK CALL FOR PROPOSALS
FEB 22, 2012

NASA is soliciting proposals to use the Keck Telescopes for the 2012B observing semester (Aug 2012 - Jan 2013). NASA intends the use of the Keck telescopes to be highly strategic in support of on-going space missions and/or high priority, long term science goals. NASA Keck time is open to a wide range of disciplines including exoplanets, galactic and extragalactic topics. This semester and continuing into future semesters, there is limited time available for observations of targets based on public Kepler data or data obtained through the Kepler Guest Observer programs. The proposal process is being handled by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) at Caltech and all proposals are due on 15 March 2012 at 4 pm PDT. Please see the website for further information and the proposal submission site. Questions not answered on these pages can be directed to KeckCFP@ipac.caltech.edu.

FORTHCOMING SCIENCE MEETINGS FOR THE KEPLER COMMUNITY
FEB 10, 2012

Plan for a busy summer of travel. Science meetings with large Kepler participation that we draw your attention to are:
1. The Modern Era of Helio- and Asteroseismology, May 20-25, Obergurgl, Austria
2. 220th AAS Meeting, including 4 special Kepler sessions, Jun 10-14, Anchorage, Alaska
3. Extending the Kepler Mission: New Horizons in Asteroseismology, Jun 18-22, Balatonfured, Hungary
4. 17th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems and the Sun, Jun 24-29, Barcelona, Spain
5. Ageing Low Mass Stars: From Red Giants to White Dwarfs, 40th Liege International Astrophysical Colloquium, Jul 9-13, Belgium
6. Working with Exoplanet Light Curves, 2012 Sagan Exoplanet Summer Workshop, Jul 23-27, Pasadena, CA
7. High-Precision Tests of Stellar Physics from High-Precision Photometry, IAU XXVIII General Assembly, Aug 27-31, Beijing, China

KEPLER ANNOUNCES 11 PLANETARY SYSTEMS HOSTING 26 PLANETS
JAN 26, 2012

NASA's Kepler mission has discovered 11 new planetary systems hosting 26 confirmed planets. These discoveries nearly double the number of verified planets and triple the number of stars known to have more than one planet that transits, or passes in front of, the star. Such systems will help astronomers better understand how planets form. The planets orbit close to their host stars and range in size from 1.5 times the radius of Earth to larger than Jupiter. Fifteen are between Earth and Neptune in size. Further observations will be required to determine which are rocky like Earth and which have thick gaseous atmospheres like Neptune. The planets orbit their host star once every six to 143 days. All are closer to their host star than Venus is to our sun.

CYCLE 4 OPPORTUNITY FOR GUEST OBSERVER PROPOSALS IS CLOSED
JAN 20, 2012

At the close of the cycle 4 announcement of opportunity for Guest Observer proposals, 61 proposals were submitted for observations through operational quarters 14-17. 52 proposals were submitted by US principle investigators, 9 were submitted by PIs from Europe and none from elsewhere in the world. The GO grant awards available total $1.2M and the target allocation to fill is 5,000 (long cadence) targets per quarter and 40 (short cadence) targets per month. Oversubscription factors are 2.6 (by grant dollar requests), 2.1 (by long cadence targets) and 3.1 (by short cadence targets). The cycle 4 target list will be selected by community peer review and endorsed by NASA Headquarters. Results will be announced before the beginning of quarter 14 observations.

NASA SENIOR REVIEW PROPOSAL FOR KEPLER MISSION EXTENSION SUBMITTED
JAN 17, 2012

Current NASA funding for the Kepler mission ends in Nov 2013 with flight operations planned for shutdown on Nov 12, 2012. To increase mission longevity, the Kepler Team have proposed to NASA for a mission extension out to 2017. The Senior Review relies upon peer review from a committee selected from the astrophysical community. The ranking results of the Senior Review for operating missions will be understood in April.

KEPLER MISSION FINDS THREE SMALLEST EXOPLANETS
JAN 11, 2012

Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler mission have discovered the three smallest planets yet detected orbiting a star beyond our sun. The planets orbit a single star, called KOI-961, and are 0.78, 0.73 and 0.57 times the radius of Earth. The smallest is about the size of Mars. All three planets are thought to be rocky like Earth, but orbit close to their star. That makes them too hot to be in the habitable zone, which is the region where liquid water could exist. Of the more than 700 planets confirmed to orbit other stars -- called exoplanets -- only a handful are known to be rocky.

KEPLER DISCOVERY OF TWO MORE CIRCUMBINARY PLANETS ESTABLISHES NEW CLASS
JAN 11, 2012

Kepler astronomers announced the discovery of two new transiting “circumbinary” planet systems – planets that orbit two stars. This work establishes that such “two sun” planets are not rare exceptions, but are in fact common with many millions existing in our Galaxy. While long anticipated in both science and science fiction, the existence of a circumbinary planet orbiting a pair of normal stars was not definitively established until the discovery of Kepler-16 b, announced by the Kepler Team last September. Like Kepler-16 b, these new planets also transit (eclipse) their host stars, making their existence unambiguous. When only Kepler-16 b was known, many questions remained about the nature of circumbinary planets – what kinds of orbits, masses, radii, temperatures, etc., could they have? And most of all, was Kepler-16 b just a fluke? With the discovery of Kepler-34 b and 35 b, astronomers can now answer many of those questions and begin to study an entirely new class of planets

ALL KEPLER SURVEY DATA OBTAINED DURING QUARTERS 4-6 NOW PUBLICLY AVAILABLE AT MAST
JAN 07, 2012

Most target data collected by Kepler during operational quarters 4-6 are now available to everybody from the Kepler archive at MAST. The only exception is quarter 6 GO data that will become public in Apr 2012. The data release described here increases the publicly available baseline for most Kepler targets from ~210 days to ~480 days. The data release described is the first of a three-phase plan. Phase 2 releases quarter 7-9 data to the public on Jul 28, 2012, providing additional baseline of ~270 days. Phase 3 releases quarter 10-13 data to the public on Oct 28, 2012, providing an additional baseline of ~1 year. After Oct 2012, all Kepler light curve and pixel data collected will be archived without delay or proprietary period.

JAN 20, 2012 CYCLE 4 GUEST OBSERVER DEADLINE IS APPROACHING
JAN 05, 2012

The deadline for cycle 4 GO proposals is Jan 20, 2012. Successfully proposed investigations will be funded through NASA research grants. For this cycle, the GO program resources have expanded to 5,000 long cadence targets per quarter and 40 short cadence targets per month. Cycle 4 is the final GO cycle of Kepler's baseline mission. Further cycles will depend on the success of the mission in petitioning the NASA Senior Review to extend operations. You have a critical part to play in this petition - the more demand for GO target resources in cycle 4, the greater Kepler's chances of both a mission extension and continued funding of GO programs. A similar argument applies to publications. If you have papers close to completion, Kepler and its community will benefit from their submission in time for the Senior Review panel meeting in late Feb 2012.

QUARTER 10 LIGHT CURVES, TARGET PIXEL FILES AND COTRENDING BASIS VECTORS NOW AT MAST
JAN 05, 2012

Quarter 10 light curves and target pixel files are now available to GOs and the Kepler Science Team via the Archive Data Search and Retrieval page at MAST. At the time of writing, data ingest is still ongoing and will be finished within a few days. Q10 covers the period Jun 28 to Sep 27, 2011 and comprises the first quarter of cycle 3 Guest Observer observations. Q10 is the second operational quarter of data to be delivered to the archive in the PDC MAP era. PDC MAP replaces the original PDC algorithms described in the Kepler Data Processing Handbook. The new functionality reduces instrumental and systematic photometric artifacts more effectively, while retaining more intrinsic astrophysics within the time series data. PDC MAP identifies the common photometric structure over a large sample of Kepler sources local to your target, constructs cotrending basis vectors to characterize the common variability, and employs these to fit and remove systematics from individual light curves. PDC MAP provides more reliable artifact mitigation for a larger sample of Kepler targets. All prior quarters of data will be reprocessed with SOC 8.0+ and re-ingested at MAST before Jul 2012. In cases where PDC MAP provides a non-optimal solution or where users have re-extracted photometry from a target pixel file or where data are waiting to be reprocessed with SOC 8.0+, archive users now have the data and software resources to re-perform artifact mitigation with customized, target-specific criteria using canned cotrending basis vectors and available cotrending software.

KEPLER QUARTER 11-12 ROLL PROCEDURE EXECUTED
JAN 05, 2012

The data gap for monthly data download and spacecraft roll began on Jan 4. Science operations and data collection resumed on Jan 5. These events mark the boundary between operational quarters 11 and 12. Quarter 11 data is scheduled to be pipeline-reduced and delivered to the Kepler archive before Apr 23, 2012.

KEPLER AT THE 219TH AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY MEETING - AUSTIN, TX
JAN 04, 2012

The 219th AAS meeting occurs over Jan 8-12 in Austin, TX. There will be a significant Kepler presence there. 29 talks and 28 posters directly related to Kepler data exploitation will be presented, distributed over 29 different scientific sessions - testifying to the diversity within the Kepler community. There will be a Kepler booth #219-233,318-322 where we encourage you to tarry with the Science and Technical Teams and bring your questions, concerns and ideas. On Wed, Jan 11 between 2-4pm, there will be a splinter meeting in room 8 - "Data Analysis for Kepler Science: A Tutorial". Staff from the GO Office will provide a step-by-step guide to understanding and mitigating for systematic artifacts within the Kepler light curves and becoming familiar with the public software being developed.

A COMPACT SYSTEM OF SMALL PLANETS AROUND A FORMER RED GIANT STAR
DEC 21, 2011

Planets that orbit their parent star at less than about 1 AU are expected to be engulfed when the star becomes a red giant. Stephane Charpinet and collaborators report in Nature the presence of two nearly Earth-sized bodies orbiting the post-red-giant, hot B subdwarf star KIC 05807616 at distances of 0.0060 and 0.0076 AU, with orbital periods of 5.7625 and 8.2293 hours, respectively. These bodies probably survived deep immersion in the former red-giant envelope. They may be the dense cores of evaporated giant planets that were transported closer to the star during the engulfment and triggered the mass loss necessary for the formation of the hot B subdwarf, which might also explain how some stars of this type did not form in binary systems.

KEPLER DISCOVERS THE FIRST EARTH-SIZE PLANETS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM
DEC 20, 2011

The Kepler mission has discovered the first Earth-size planets orbiting a sun-like star outside our solar system. The planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, are too close to their star to be in the habitable zone where liquid water could exist on a planet's surface, but they are the smallest exoplanets ever confirmed around a star like our sun. The discovery marks the next important milestone in the ultimate search for planets like Earth. The new planets are thought to be rocky. Kepler-20e is slightly smaller than Venus, measuring 0.87 times the radius of Earth. Kepler-20f is a bit larger than Earth, measuring 1.03 times its radius. Both planets reside in a five-planet system called Kepler-20, approximately 1,000 light-years away.

VIDEOS OF ORAL PRESENTATIONS DURING THE FIRST KEPLER SCIENCE CONFERENCE ARE ONLINE
DEC 11, 2011

The First Kepler Science Conference was held at the NASA Ames Research Center over the period Dec 5-9, 2011, hosting 500 attendees. Sessions covered exoplanet candidate discovery, validation, statistics and theory, asteroseismology, stellar activity, gyrochronology and binary stars. The oral presentations at the conference were recorded and are available here.

DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY TARGETS FOR QUARTER 12
DEC 11, 2011

The upcoming Dec 29 quarterly roll defines the boundary between Kepler operational quarters 11 and 12. New target lists have been delivered and approved for upload to the spacecraft. GO investigators owning Q12 data will be notified of their target lists shortly. In addition, available GO pixel resources allowed a number of Director's Discretionary Targets to be added to the observing program:

INVID KEPID PI CAD. TITLE
GO30101 custom Gizis LC HIGH PROPER MOTION M9 STAR
GO30104 custom Sokoloski SC THE SYMBIOTIC STAR CH CYG
GO30105 9603833 Still LC THE SYMBIOTIC BINARY STHA 169
GO30109 6595745 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 10267582 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 6690887 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 2837332 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 3337670 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 10841941 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 3347632 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30110 8626021 Ostensen SC PULSATIONS IN A DB WHITE DWARF
GO30111 custom Kinemuchi LC HIGHLY-VARIABLE STAR IN FFI WITHOUT KIC COUNTERPART
GO30113 10618721 Aerts SC MICROQUASAR CANDIDATE
GO30113 8868650 Aerts SC MICROQUASAR CANDIDATE
GO30116 9202990 Aerts LC CATACLYSMIC VARIABLE
GO30119 4136285 Aerts LC B5IV STAR V545 LYR
GO30119 6020867 Aerts LC B9SP STAR HR 7118
GO30120 5449513 Barclay SC 13-MIN PULSATION ON AN F TYPE STAR
GO30121 custom Gaensicke SC UVEX SURVEY WHITE DWARF CANDIDATE
GO30122 5034333 Hambleton SC TIDAL ASTEROSEISMOLOGY IN A HEARTBEAT STAR
GO30123 1294756 Murphy SC SHORT-PERIOD δ SCUTI CANDIDATE
GO30124 2706911 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2568477 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2568547 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2707097 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2707109 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2568660 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2846441 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2846556 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2568987 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2707560 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2707597 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2846901 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2297325 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2569800 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2707807 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2569969 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2297672 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2708019 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2297815 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2708152 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2570578 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY
GO30124 2570696 Peterson LC CLUSTER RED GIANT SURVEY

FAST CORE ROTATION IN RED GIANT STARS DISCOVERED BY THE KEPLER ASTEROSEISMOLOGICAL SCIENCE CONSORTIUM
DEC 07, 2011

Spectroscopic observations reveal that the surfaces of most yellow, orange, and red giants rotate slowly-but those observations say nothing about what's happening beneath the surface. Paul Beck of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium and his colleagues have used data from the Kepler space observatory to study the cores of three yellow giant stars named KIC 5356201, KIC 8366239, and KIC 12008916. The stars are only 20% to 50% more massive than the sun, but they're about five times larger and 800 to 950 degrees Kelvin cooler. From more than a year's worth of Kepler data, Beck and his colleagues report online today in Nature that the cores of all three giant stars spin at least 10 times faster than their surfaces.

1.6Re PLANET CONFIRMED AROUND ONE OF THE BRIGHTEST STARS IN THE KEPLER FIELD
DEC 07, 2011

Kepler has revealed that one of the brightest stars in the Kepler field has a planet with a radius only 1.6 Re radius and a mass no greater that 10 earth masses, circling its parent star with a 2.8 day period. This planet, designated Kepler-21b, is only 6 million km away from its parent star. The temperature at the surface of the planet is about 1900 K, or 2960 F. While this temperature is nowhere near the habitable zone in which liquid water might be found, the planet's size is approaching that of the earth. The parent star, HD 179070, is quite similar to our sun: its mass is 1.3 solar masses, its radius is 1.9 solar radii, and its age, based on stellar models, is 2.84 billion years.

THE KEPLER PROJECT ANNOUNCES AN ACCELERATED DATA RELEASE SCHEDULE
DEC 05, 2011

In order to support the community exploitation of the Kepler data archive, the Kepler project announces an accelerated data release schedule. This schedule accelerates all data except for those included in existing agreements between Guest Observers and the Kepler Asteroseismological Science Consortium. Data from quarters 4, 5 and 6 (Dec 2009-Sep 2010) will be released on Jan 7, 2012. Quarters 7, 8, and 9 (Sep 2010-Jun 2011) will be released on Jul 28, 2012. Quarters 10, 11, 12 and 13 (Jun 2011-Jun 2012) will be released on Oct 28, 2012. All data will be available through the Data Search and Retrieval Page at MAST. Quarters collected after Q13 will have no exclusive data use period.

KEPLER CONFIRMS ITS FIRST PLANET IN THE HABITABLE ZONE OF A SUN-LIKE STAR AND 1,000 NEW PLANET CANDIDATES
DEC 05, 2011

NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed its first planet in the "habitable zone", the region where liquid water could exist on a planet's surface. Kepler also has discovered more than 1,000 new planet candidates, nearly doubling its previously known count. Ten of these candidates are near-Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of their host star. Candidates require follow-up observations to verify they are actual planets. The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, is the smallest yet found to orbit in the middle of the habitable zone of a star similar to our sun. The planet is about 2.4 times the radius of Earth. Scientists don't yet know if Kepler-22b has a predominantly rocky, gaseous or liquid composition, but its discovery is a step closer to finding Earth-like planets.

5TH KEPLER ASTEROSEISMOLOGICAL SCIENCE CONSORTIUM WORKSHOP
DEC 02, 2011

The fifth KASC workshop "Extending the Kepler Mission: New Horizons in Asteroseismology" will take place between 18-22 Jun, 2012. The meeting location is by Lake Balaton in Balatonfured, Hungary. Kepler has defined a completely new landscape for asteroseismic studies and through the latest results presented at this meeting, KASC expect to witness the emergence of more new horizons for this rapidly evolving field. The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss the benefits of the longer photometric baseline of an extended Kepler mission and plan KASC strategies for the coming years and the asteroseismic legacy of Kepler.

QUARTER 9 DATA RELEASE NOTES ARE ONLINE
DEC 02, 2011

Data Release Notes supporting the release of Q9 (Mar-Jun 2011) data to the archive are available here. These notes provide specific guidance on the quality of Q9 data and archive products. Deeper understanding of the concepts contained within the notes can be taken from the Kepler Characteristics Handbook.

NEW KEPLER TARGET CHARACTERIZATION TABLES ARE ONLINE
DEC 01, 2011

The MAST have provided an enhanced table of sources in the Kepler field that characterize the UV, optical and IR properties of existing and potential Kepler targets. The searchable table with filter options contains both the 4 million targets already existing in the original Kepler Input Catalog and 6 million additional sources identified by deeper or higher resolution surveys. The new table is a unification of existing resources:

  1. the Kepler Input Catalog containing briz source photometry
  2. the GALEX source list containing far- and near-UV photometry
  3. JHK IR 2MASS magnitudes
  4. UKIRT high resolution J band characteristics
  5. The Kepler Characteristics Table, containing detector location, signal-to-noise and contamination estimates

The release of this target resource is timely, with the deadline for cycle 4 Guest Observer proposals approaching on Jan 20, 2012. Future updates to this table are planned containing further ongoing Kepler field surveys conducted by numerous community projects.

NEW COTRENDING BASIS VECTORS AVAILABLE AT MAST
NOV 30, 2011

Cotrending Basis Vectors (CBVs) provide a means for Kepler users to fit and remove systematic artifacts from their light curves. Updated and improved CBVs are now available at MAST here. Previous Q1-8 CBVs have been replaced, reducing the impact of variable stars upon the higher order vectors. CBVs have been added to the download page for Q9 data. We remind you that the kepcotrend tool has recently been revised to remove systematic noise from both short cadence and long cadence data.

QUARTER 9 LIGHT CURVES AND TARGET PIXEL FILES AVAILABLE AT MAST
NOV 20, 2011

Quarter 9 light curves and target pixel files are now available to GOs and the Kepler Science Team via the Archive Data Search and Retrieval page at MAST. Q9 covers the period Mar 19 to Jun 27, 2011 and comprise the final quarter of cycle 2 of Guest Observer observations. Q9 is the first operational quarter of data to be delivered to the archive in the PDC MAP era. PDC MAP replaces the original PDC algorithms described in the Kepler Data Processing Handbook. The new functionality reduces instrumental and systematic photometric artifacts more effectively, while retaining more intrinsic astrophysics within the time series data. PDC MAP identifies the common photometric structure over a large sample of Kepler sources local to your target, constructs cotrending basis vectors to characterize the common variability, and employs these to fit and remove systematics from individual light curves. PDC MAP provides more reliable artifact mitigation for a larger sample of Kepler targets. All prior quarters of data will be reprocessed with SOC 8.0 and re-ingested at MAST before Jul 2012. In cases where PDC MAP provides a non-optimal solution or where data are waiting to be reprocessed with SOC 8.0, archive users now have the data and software resources to re-perform artifact mitigation with customized, target-specific criteria using canned cotrending basis vectors and available cotrending software.

CYCLE 4 GO PROPOSAL DEADLINE IS APPROACHING
NOV 15, 2011

The deadline for cycle 4 GO proposals is Jan 20, 2012. Please consider submitting a non-binding Notice of Intent to propose before Dec 5. This helps us prepare for the review and saves you time in Jan. Cycle 4 is the final GO cycle of Kepler's baseline mission. Further cycles will depend on the success of the mission in petitioning the NASA senior review to extend operations. You have a critical part to play in this petition - the more demand for GO target resources in cycle 4, the greater Kepler's chances of both a mission extension and continued funding of GO programs. A similar argument applies to publications. If you have papers close to completion, Kepler and its community will benefit from their submission in time for the senior review panel meeting in Feb 2012.

SIGNAL-TO-NOISE AND SOURCE CROWDING NOW PROVIDED WITH ARCHIVED DATA
NOV 15, 2011

The target search form at MAST for identifying potential Kepler targets provides predictions for the signal-to-noise, source crowding and fraction of target flux within the photometric pixel aperture for each source within the KIC. The data search form that provides access to archived data now yields the same parameters measured directly from the collected data. Specifically these are CROWDING, FLUX FRACTION, CDPP3, CDPP6 and CDPP12. These fields provide the user with the ability to filter archived data on signal-to-noise and source crowding before downloading samples of light curves and target pixel files.

COTRENDING SHORT CADENCE DATA WITH THE KEPLER BASIS VECTORS
NOV 13, 2011

The data reduction tool kepcotrend has been updated with new functionality to fit and remove systematic artifacts from short cadence data.

KEPLER ARCHIVE MANUAL UPDATED
NOV 04, 2011

A new version of the Kepler Archive Manual has been released. Version 3 describes improved accuracy to the FFI coordinate system, the cotrending basis vectors, pixel response files, PDC MAP support, new data quality flags and new diagnostic keywords.

CYCLE 4 GUEST OBSERVER PROGRAM EXPANDED, NEW PROPOSAL DEADLINE SET
OCT 17, 2011

The time is approaching for the Kepler community to begin developing cycle 4 Guest Observer proposals. Cycle 4 observations will begin in Jun 2012 and will extend for 1 year provided Kepler is awarded a 2-year mission extension by the Senior Review for NASA's Operating Missions in Feb 2012. Alternatively, if an extended mission is not awarded, cycle 4 will be the final Guest Observer cycle and will cease after 4.5 months because the Kepler spacecraft will not be funded to operate beyond Nov 2012. The Kepler Announcement of Opportunity for cycle 4 has been amended with two important innovations. 1) 2,000 extra long cadence targets have been added to the Guest Observer quota. The total number of long cadence targets available to Guest Observers is now 5,000 per quarter. See the Oct 6, 2011 blog to understand the nature and circumstances of the extra targets. The intent is to foster more Guest Observer participation in the mission and larger source surveys within the Guest Observer program. 2) 15 extra short cadence targets have been added to the Guest Observer quota. The total number of short cadence targets available to Guest Observers is now 40 per month. This action provides more of Kepler's most in-demand resource for peer-reviewed competition. The proposal submission deadline has been pushed back to avoid the holiday period. Proposals must now be submitted before Jan 20, 2012.
It is important to Kepler prospects for mission extension that the Cycle 4 Guest Observer program is heavily subscribed with high quality science proposals. We encourage old and new Kepler enthusiasts to propose liberally to this opportunity. Successful US-led proposals will be awarded with research funding, including the funding of US participants in the Kepler Asteroseismology Science Consortium program. All KASC members are encouraged to add new and old targets identified of asteroseismological value to the Guest Observer competition if there is no room for them within the KASC target quota. The Guest Observer competition has three main purposes: 1) to add new targets to the observing list, 2) to continue monitoring high-value targets that are not included on the exoplanet survey target list, and 3) to ensure that targets of high astrophysics value on the exoplanet list do not get dropped during cycle 4. Cycle 3 data will not reach the Kepler archive until one week before the cycle 4 deadline. Cycle 3 Guest Observers must not think that unanalyzed data is a weakness for their cycle 4 proposal. The target allocation committee will be instructed to take this difficult schedule in to account.

REMINDER TO PROPOSE QUARTER 12 TARGETS FOR THE DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY PROGRAM
OCT 17, 2011

The deadline is already approaching (Oct 24) for you to propose additional targets for quarter 12 observing through the discretionary target program. It is a long 8 months before you can observe new targets through the grant-funded cycle 4 Guest Observer Program. But if you can't wait, the discretionary program can also be used to respond to targets of opportunity, provide a mechanism for pilot studies, and enhance existing GO or KASC programs with additional data.

KEPLER PIXEL RESPONSE CALIBRATION PRODUCT NOW AVAILABLE AT MAST
OCT 10, 2011

The Kepler Pixel Response Function (PRF) has been provided for public download at the focal plane characteristics repository at the MAST archive. The PRF is determined from a combination of the Kepler optical point spread function and typical pointing and electronic systematics of the Kepler spacecraft during a 29.4-minute exposure. The PRF varies in size and shape across the Kepler focal plane. To describe this variation across the focal plane, the PRF model is comprised of five images per channel. For more information on the PRF, how it was measured, and how it is used in the Kepler pipeline, refer to Bryson et al. (2011). There are three primary uses of the PRF: 1) To predict or model pixel values due to a star at a specified pixel location with a specified magnitude. 2) To estimate a stars location within target pixel files or full frame images. 3) To estimate PRF-photometry. Our experience is that this generally does not provide an improvement over simple aperture photometry in the case of isolated field stars, though there may be exceptions.

CORRECTION MADE TO PIXEL POSITIONS IN THE KEPLER TARGET SEARCH TOOL AT MAST
OCT 10, 2011

An error has been found in the CCD row positions of 0.07% of targets in the Kepler Target Search Tool at MAST. The error was typically a few pixels but could become much larger in the brightest targets with long bleeds down saturated columns. The error has been fixed as of Oct 10, 2011.

14,000 KEPLER RED GIANT TARGETS NOW AVAILABLE FOR COMMUNITY-LED ANALYSIS
OCT 06, 2011

The Kepler Team announce the public data release of 14,048 red giants for scientific exploitation by the community. All quarter 0 to quarter 8 light curves of these targets can now be downloaded by you and your collaborators. While there is no guarantee that a specific target in the red giant list has been observed over all past operational quarters, the maximum length of time series data now publicly available for red giant targets is 680 days. These targets remain on the Kepler target list and will continue to be observed when pixels are available. All future data collected for these targets will be delivered to the archive without proprietary periods. They do however have a low priority for the core mission exoplanet survey and are among the first targets to be dropped from the survey each quarter if pixel resources become stretched. The magnitude range of red giants in the released sample is dominated by 7.9 < Kp < 14.0. The KIC-derived stellar effective temperatures are dominated by the range 4,500 < Teff (K) < 5,100. KIC-derived surface densities mostly occur within the range 2.4 < log(g g cm-2) < 3.4. Outliers to these ranges within the public data exist. All data released within this sample can be inspected and downloaded from the Kepler Data Search Tool at MAST, by filtering the search upon a release date of 2011-09-27. We encourage the Kepler community to exploit these newly available data resources for science. The Kepler red giant sample will also be surveyed by the SDSS III APOGEE experiment providing a yield of red giants within the Galactic bulge, bar, disk, and halo. The precise radial velocities and detailed chemical abundance "fingerprinting" provide by APOGEE, combined with Kepler asteroseismology, will yield unprecedented insights into stellar physics and the dynamical structure and chemical history of the Galaxy. If the Kepler mission is extended by NASA, there will possibly be a downselect of targets from the exoplanet survey in 2013 in order to maintain a high duty cycle as our downlink bandwidth systematically decreases over time. These red giants will most-likely be among the targets dropped. It behooves the community to identify the red giants of highest value from this public sample over the next 12 months and reinstate them to the target list through the 2013 Guest Observer program (cycle 5).

KEPLER HAS NOW ENTERED OPERATIONAL QUARTER 11
SEP 29, 2011

Quarter 11 observations began 09/29/11 and are due to complete on 12/29/11. Quarter 11 is the second quarter of GO cycle 3. All quarter 10 data have been collected safely from the spacecraft and are due at the MAST archive after pipeline processing on 01/15/12.

ALL QUARTER 3 KEPLER DATA AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC DOWNLOAD FROM MAST
SEP 23, 2011

All Q3 science data collected during the period Sep 18 to Dec 16 2009 are available for download from the Multimission Archive at STScI (MAST) and community exploitation as of Sep 23, 2011. The majority of targets now have a minimum of 200 days of near-continuous monitoring available in the Kepler public archive.

SOC 8.0 PIPELINE DELIVERED, PDC MAP IS HERE
SEP 21, 2011

Kepler's data reduction pipeline has been upgraded to release version 8.0. The most exciting new feature is the first operational version of PDC MAP. PDC MAP replaces the original PDC algorithms described in the Kepler Data Processing Handbook. The new functionality reduces instrumental and systematic photometric artifacts more effectively, while retaining more intrinsic astrophysics within the time series data. PDC MAP identifies the common photometric structure over a large sample of Kepler sources local to your target, constructs cotrending basis vectors to characterize the common variability, and employs these to fit and remove systematics from individual light curves. PDC MAP will provide more reliable artifact mitigation for a larger sample of Kepler targets. The first operational quarter to benefit from PDC MAP will be Q9. All prior quarters of data will be reprocessed with SOC 8.0 and re-ingested at MAST before Jul 2012. In cases where PDC MAP provides a non-optimal solution or where data are waiting to be reprocessed with SOC 8.0, archive users now have the data and software resources to re-perform artifact mitigation with customized, target-specific criteria using canned cotrending basis vectors and available cotrending software.

THREE WEEK DELAY IN QUARTER 9 DATA DELIVERY
SEP 17, 2011

There will be a 3 week delay in the delivery of Q9 data to the MAST archive. We will notify this blog of Q9 availability around mid-November. The delay has been planned so that Q9 data will contain the photometric quality enhancements provided by SOC 8.0. If we maintained the originally-planned delivery schedule of late Oct, Q9 data would not hold SOC 8.0 updates and the community would wait a full year for Q9 to be reprocessed by the pipeline. The Kepler project consider a small delivery delay to be the correct option in this situation.

KEPLER PLANET CANDIDATE DATA EXPLORER
SEP 17, 2011

The Kepler planet candidate data explorer provides a web-based resource for sorting, filtering and plotting the current table of Kepler planet candidate attributes, derived from transit fitting and follow-up observations, and delivered by Borucki et al. (2011).

THREE KEPLER "FIRSTS" ANNOUNCED
SEP 15, 2011

Over the space of seven days, the Kepler community announced the detections of three new phenomena that have been searched for keenly within the Kepler data. On Sep 8, Sarah Ballard and collaborators reported the first definitive detection of one planet, Kepler-19c, via the transit timing variations of a second planet in the system. On Sep 14, Victoria Antoci and team of KASC scientists revealed the first detection of solar-like oscillations from within a thin convective envelope over a Delta Scuti star. On Sep 15, Laurance Doyle and the Kepler Science Team announced the first transiting circumbinary planet, Kepler-16b.

ABSTRACT DEADLINE FOR THE FIRST KEPLER SCIENCE CONFERENCE IS SEP 28
SEP 12, 2011

The deadline for abstracts for the First Kepler Science Conference is Sep 28, 2011. The conference is scheduled for Dec 5-9, 2011 at NASA Ames Research Center, CA. The conference website for uploading abstracts and registering attendance is http://kepler.nasa.gov/Science/ForScientists/keplerconference. Topics include:

  • The Kepler Mission and Exoplanet Statistics
  • Earth-analog and sub-Neptune-size Planets
  • Multiple Planet Systems
  • Exoplanet Theory
  • Giant Planets and Planet Atmospheres
  • Eclipsing and Interacting Binaries
  • Stellar Activity and Rotation
  • Asteroseismology Across the HR Diagram
  • Red Giant Oscillations
  • Ensemble Asteroseismology of Solar-type Stars

The conference registration deadlines are:

  • Sep 28, 2011: Abstract submission deadline
  • Sep 23, 2011: Foreign national registration (designated countries)
  • Oct 21, 2011: Foreign national registration (non-designated countries)
  • Oct 21, 2011: US citizen and permanent resident registration

DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY TARGETS FOR QUARTER 11
SEP 12, 2011

The upcoming Sep 28 quarterly roll defines the boundary between Kepler operational quarters 10 and 11. New target lists have been delivered and approved for upload to the spacecraft. GO investigators owning Q11 data will be notified of their target lists shortly. In addition, available GO pixel resources allowed a number of Director's Discretionary targets to be added to the observing program:

INVID KEPID PI CAD. TITLE
GO30101 custom Gizis LC HIGH PROPER MOTION M9 STAR
GO30102 9535405 Howell LC SINGLE WHITE DWARF WITH ROTATING HOT SPOTS
GO30104 custom Sokoloski SC THE SYMBIOTIC STAR CH CYG
GO30108 custom Guzik SC DELTA SCUTI PULSATIONS IN THE A3 STAR HD 179583
GO30109 6595745 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 10267582 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 6690887 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 2837332 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 3337670 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 5597763 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 10841941 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30109 3347632 Edelson LC NEW AGN CANDIDATES
GO30110 8626021 Ostensen SC PULSATIONS IN A DB WHITE DWARF
GO30110 8816868 Ostensen LC V1093 HER CANDIDATE STAR
GO30110 2849640 Ostensen SC CANDIDATE V361 HYA PULSATOR
GO30111 custom Kinemuchi LC HIGHLY-VARIABLE STAR IN FFIS WITHOUT KIC COUNTERPART
GO30112 5708518 Barclay SC CANDIDATE PG 1159 STAR
GO30114 5385723 Aerts LC PULSATIONS ON V380 CYG
GO30116 9202990 Aerts LC CATACLYSMIC VARIABLE
GO30118 2569576 Reed SC SDB CANDIDATE STARS
GO30118 2437937 Reed SC SDB CANDIDATE STARS
GO30118 2569583 Reed SC SDB CANDIDATE STARS

KEPLER IN THE 2012 SENIOR REVIEW FOR OPERATING MISSIONS
SEP 12, 2011

NASA has invited Kepler to propose for an extended mission through the 2012 Senior Review process. The observational phase of Kepler's baseline mission is due to end in late 2012. A successful proposal may see us continue to collect data through to 2014 and beyond. The Senior Review is a competitive peer-reviewed process for a share of a finite budget among other operating missions. Guest Observers, KASC members and Kepler archive users are encouraged to promote an extended Kepler mission among their peers and publish science results before the Feb 28 Senior Review panel meeting.

STSCI_PYTHON v2.12 RELEASED, KEPLER DATA ANALYSIS TOOLS (PyKE) TESTED
SEP 01, 2011

The Space Telescope Science Institute have released version 1.9 of PyRAF and version 2.12 of their STSCI_PYTHON package. Fixes enforced by the PyRAF upgrade have been made to the Kepler data analysis tools (PyKE). Ensure you update PyKE to version 2.1.1 when upgrading your PyRAF installation.

KEPLER DATA CHARACTERISTICS HANDBOOK UPDATED
AUG 17, 2011

Version 2 of the Kepler Data Characteristics Handbook is available for download at MAST. The handbook provides a description of the systematic phenomena identified in the Kepler data, and an explanation for how these characteristics are currently handled by the data analysis pipeline. With each quarterly release of data and each release of reprocessed data, a set of Data Release Notes is produced that tabulates the phenomena unique to that data set. The motivation for this separation into static, explanatory text and a set of dynamic figures and tables is the hope that once the user becomes familiar with the Data Characteristics Handbook, with each quarterly release they need only peruse the short Notes for that quarter, referring back to the Handbook only when necessary.

KEPLER MISSION ANNOUNCES NEXT DATA RELEASE TO PUBLIC ARCHIVE
AUG 12, 2011

The Kepler Science Team announced on Aug 12 the next release of data to the public archive. Quarter three science data collected during the period Sep 18 to Dec 16 2009 will be available for download on Sep 23, 2011 from the Multimission Archive at STScI (MAST). The majority of targets in the Kepler public archive will have a minimum of 6 months or more of near-continuous monitoring available. "The Science team recognizes a strong demand from the scientific community for more public data", said Nick Gautier, Kepler Mission project scientist. "This is evident by the volume of papers on exoplanet science as well as stellar astrophysics that have been published using Kepler data."

KEPLER PHOTOMETRY COTRENDING RESOURCES NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE
JUL 29, 2011

Simple Aperture Photometry data from Kepler often contain systematic trends associated with the spacecraft, detector and environment rather than the target. Within the Kepler pipeline these contaminants are treated during Pre-search Data Conditioning (PDC) and cleaned data are provided in the light curve files archived at MAST. These pipeline processes are imperfect but tackled in the spirit of correcting as many targets as possible with enough accuracy for the mission to meet exoplanet detection specifications. The imperfections in the method are most apparent in variable stars, those stars that are of most interest for stellar astrophysics. The PDC correction can occasionally hamper data analysis or, at worst, destroy astrophysical signal from the target. While data filtering and data detrending with analytical functions often provide some mitigation for data artifacts, these methods require assumptions and often result in lossy data. An alternative viable approach is to identify the photometric variability common to all of the stars neighboring the target and subtract those trends from the target. In principle, the correct choice, weighting and subtraction of these common trends will leave behind a corrected flux time series which better represents statistically the true signal from the target. Except for quarters 0-2, GOs, KASC members and archive users do not have access to all the light curve data neighboring their targets due to data proprietary constraints. They cannot take the ensemble approach themselves without help. To mitigate this problem the Kepler Science Office have made available ancillary data which describes the systematic trends present in the ensemble flux data for each CCD channel. These data are known as the Cotrending Basis Vectors (CBVs). The CBVs for quarter 0-8 are freely available now from the MAST archive. CBVs for future quarters will be delivered concurrently with data ingests at MAST. A software tool for cotrending Kepler data with the CBVs, with instructions and examples, is provided within the open source PyKE software package maintained at the GO Office.

ARCHIVE UPDATE TO FITS V2.0 FILE FORMAT CONTINUES
JUL 28, 2011

The MAST archive is continuing to update all of its light curve content to version 2.0 of the Kepler FITS file format. The new content provides information with greater clarity and includes additional information describing pixel mask definitions, cadence quality flagging and target motion across the pixel aperture. As of Jul 28, all light curves have been ingested in the new format for quarters 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8. We predict quarters 5, 6, and 7 will be ingested by Aug 9 approximately. The Kepler Science Office recommends users download these new files for both the added information stored within and uniformity with data from future quarters. The GO Office data analysis tools, PyKE, have been engineered to work with both FITS v1.0 and FITS v2.0 data files.

KEPLER ARCHIVE MANUAL REVISED AND DELIVERED TO MAST
JUL 28, 2011

To support the delivery of FITS v2.0 light curves to the MAST archive, the Kepler Archive Manual (revision 2) has been updated and is available now at MAST.

QUARTER 4 GUEST OBSERVER, KASC AND CLUSTER DATA ARE NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC
JUL 27, 2011

The exclusive use period for all unique Guest Observer, KASC and Cluster program data is now over. The public have unlimited access to data exclusive to these programs. The targets can be browsed and downloaded at the MAST Archive Data Search and Retrieval page, selecting the investigation ID query field to be either '*GO*', '*STK*' or '*STC*'. The wildcards are required to search for targets shared by multiple programs.

'SOCCER BALL' NEBULA MAY HELP SOLVE SPACE MYSTERY
JUL 25, 2011

A soccer-ball-shaped planetary nebula discovered by an amateur astronomer may help scientists better understand these odd structures, which are created by the last gasps of dying stars. Researchers announced the existence of the newly discovered planetary nebula - named Kronberger 61, or Kn 61 - at a symposium today in Tenerife, Spain. Astronomers described the puffy nebula, which is located in a small patch of sky being monitored closely by NASA's planet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope, as resembling a soccer ball in deep space. Follow-up observations by Kepler may help answer key questions about planetary nebulae - such as how their formation may be shaped by companions, be they other stars or alien planets.

KEPLER-14B, A GIANT PLANET ORBITING ONE OF THE STARS IN A BINARY SYSTEM
JUL 20, 2011

Kepler-14b (Buchhave et al. 2011) is a planet 8 times more massive than Jupiter, orbiting one of the stars in a binary star system. The planet has a short orbital period of just 7 days, while the two stars orbit each other with a much longer period of about 2800 years. The light from the planet hosting star is diluted by its companion star and this dilution significantly affects the derived planetary parameters, and if left uncorrected, leads to an underestimate of the radius and mass of the planet by 10% and 60%, respectively. Because of the small separation of the two stars on the sky, their binary nature was only revealed by using high resolution imaging. Such imaging has not been applied to the bulk of the over 500 exoplanets discovered and if some of these planets are in similar binary systems and the dilution effect has not been taken into account, this could significantly affect the derived planetary parameters.

QUARTER 8 LIGHT CURVES AND TARGET PIXEL FILES AVAILABLE AT MAST
JUL 18, 2011

Quarter 8 light curves and target pixel files are now available to GOs and the Kepler Science Team via the Archive Data Search and Retrieval page at MAST.

DISCOVERY OF A V777 HER PULSATOR IN THE KEPLER FIELD
JUL 13, 2011

Roy Ostensen et al. (2011) present the discovery of the first pulsating white dwarf star located in the field of view of the Kepler spacecraft. During an ongoing effort to search for compact pulsator candidates that can benefit from the near-continuous coverage of Kepler, they recently identified a faint DB star from spectroscopy obtained with the William Herschel Telescope. After establishing its physical parameters to be Teff = 24,950 K and log g = 7.91 dex, placing it in the V777 Her instability strip, Kepler photometry revealed a pulsation spectrum consisting of five modes that follow a sequence roughly equally spaced in period with a mean spacing of 37 s. The three strongest modes show a triplet structure with a mean splitting of 3.3 μHz. They conclude that this object is a V777 Her pulsator with a mass of approximately 0.56 Msun, and very similar to the class prototype.

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE MAKES ONE MILLIONTH SCIENCE OBSERVATION
JUL 04, 2011

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope crossed another milestone in its 21-year space odyssey of exploration and discovery. On Monday, July 4, the Earth-orbiting observatory logged its one millionth science observation during a search for water in an exoplanet's atmosphere 1,000 light-years away. The millionth exposure is a spectroscopic measurement of the extrasolar giant planet HAT-P-7b, also known as Kepler 2b. The planet has been studied by NASA's planet-hunting Kepler observatory after it was discovered by ground-based observations.

ADDITIONAL PREDICTIVE KEPLER TARGET INFORMATION NOW AT MAST
JUL 03, 2011

The Kepler Target Search page at MAST has undergone an upgrade. The previous version provided a single value for source contamination around each target. This quantity was misleading in that it was the predicted contamination contained within an aperture of uniform size around each target, rather than the season- and target-dependent photometric apertures used by Kepler for light curve construction. The live version of the page now provides predicted source contamination for all four spacecraft roll angles using target-specific pixel apertures. Additionally the fraction of target flux and the photometric signal-to-noise contained within these seasonal apertures is provided. The seasonal distance-to-edge metric has been redefined to be the minimum distance between the edge of live CCD silicon and the edge of a targets photometric aperture. Users of the search page note well that all metrics supplied by this page are based upon predictive models rather than on-sky measurement. Watch out for measured versions of these metrics, planned for inclusion in the archived, targets-specific FITS products at MAST from the fall of 2011. This update to the target search form has also forced functional changes in a number of software tools at the GO web site. Please update these tools at your convenience in order to avoid disruption to service.

QUARTER 8 DATA INGEST AT MAST HAS BEGUN
JUL 03, 2011

Quarter 8 light curves and target pixel files have been delivered by Kepler Science Operations to the MAST archive. Individual files will become available as they are ingested. Full ingest will take approximately one week. While a complete set of data for your investigation may not be ready until the full ingest is complete, PIs can get a head start by searching for and download individual files as they are ingested right now from the data search page at MAST. All quarter 8 FITS products adhere to version 2.0 definitions. There has been what is hopefully a short delay in delivery of the updated archive manual describing v2.0 formats. As a temporary measure the conversions between FITS v1.0 and v2.0 are described in a PDF document.

UPDATE OF ARCHIVED LIGHT CURVES FROM FITS V1.0 TO V2.0
JUL 03, 2011

In our Jun 8 blog, we reported that the archived Kepler light curves were about to undergo a significant upgrade both by providing more transparency to existing information and adding additional data to the files. The Jun 8 blog, describes these enhancements briefly. The process began on Jun 28 and as of today all quarter 0 and quarter 1 light curves have been upgraded. Upgrade of quarters 2 to 7 will occur after all quarter 8 files have been ingested. Our intent is that all light curve data in the archive will be upgraded by the end of July. All Kepler users are encouraged to update local copies of their data as soon as possible in order to exploit these enhancements.

DATA ANALYSIS TOOLS RECEIVE A FACE-LIFT
JUL 03, 2011

In response to the new v2.0 FITS files arriving in the MAST archive, the GO Office data analysis tools have undergone a major revision. The software suite has also undergone a name change to avoid confusion with the ESO PyKEP package, developed to calculate celestial orbits. The Kepler tools now have the unambiguous name of PyKE. While many of the tools will continue to understand v1.0 FITS files, from Jul 31, 2011 the GO Office and PyKE tool developers will not support the data analysis of v1.0 FITS files. We recommend that community scientists update their light curve files to v2.0 as soon as they become available at MAST over the July time frame in order to exploit the many data enhancements contained within. We also recommend PyKEP users download PyKE2.0 as soon as possible in order to support the archive changes.

NEW KEPLER DATA ANALYSIS TOOLS ONLINE
JUN 28, 2011

Three new open source data analysis tools have been added to the PyKE suite of software. keppixseries plots individual light curves for each pixel within a target mask. kepdiffim provides mean flux, χ2, and normalized standard deviation maps for a target. Both these tools employ the target pixel files stored at MAST and can be used as diagnostics for assessing the efficacy of archived light curves or re-extracting them using the kepextract tool. The Third new tool is kephead for finding FITS keyword values within any Kepler file downloaded from MAST.

REMINDER TO PROPOSE QUARTER 11 TARGETS FOR THE DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY PROGRAM
JUN 19, 2011

Kepler operations are about to embark on a busy week of monthly data download and uploading new targets to the spacecraft for quarter 10 observing. However the deadline is already approaching (Jul 24) for you to propose additional targets for quarter 11 observing through the discretionary target program. It is a long 6 months before you can propose for new targets through the grant-funded Guest Observer Program. But if you can't wait, the discretionary program can also be used to respond to targets of opportunity, provide a mechanism for pilot studies before the next annual GO cycle, and enhance existing GO or KASC programs with additional data.

KEPLER/COROT SESSION AT THE 2012 IAU ASSEMBLY
JUN 13, 2011

Kepler Guest Observer David Soderblom informs us that a session titled "High-precision tests of stellar physics from high-precision photometry" based upon Kepler and COROT data has been confirmed for the IAU Assembly in Beijing, China, starting Aug 12, 2012. This will be a 2.5-day Special Session (SpS13). The goal is to present results from COROT and Kepler that have changed our knowledge of stellar physics and stellar evolution across the H-R diagram.

AUGUST KEPLER PRESS RELEASE
JUN 09, 2011

Following the enormous interest generated by astrophysics in the press releases of Mar 31 and May 23, we are encouraging GOs, KASC members and archive scientists to if you would like the help of the Kepler mission and NASA Public Affairs in publicizing your exciting new and future results through the scientific and general media. The next major NASA press release for Kepler results is scheduled for August 2011.

KEPLER ASTROPHYSICS MAKES THE COVER OF SCIENCE NEWS
JUN 08, 2011

While the scientific media taking notice of Kepler through its astrophysics achievements is extremely good news, the messages within this Science News article are important ones. Firstly, the quantity of public Kepler data in the archive is enormous and still mostly untapped for astrophysics. Please dive in and encourage your colleagues and collaborators to do the same. Secondly, Kepler has a finite operational life that may involve a number of reductions in the quantity of observed targets in the future in order to meet data transmission bandwidth requirements. It remains critical that you, the astrophysics community, strive to determine new targets for Kepler observation now, and determine now which of the objects in the field yield the best set of future targets for optimizing the impact and legacy of Kepler.

ARCHIVED DATA CHANGES
JUN 08, 2011

The MAST archive for Kepler data will update their light curve FITS files beginning in June 2011. The new format includes more information, provides consistency with the recently released target pixel file column names and keywords, and conforms to astronomical and FITS standards. All the data that was contained in the original file format exists in the new file format; however, the column order and names have changed. Many of the FITS keywords have also changed. The Kepler Archive Manual is being updated to explain the new FITS format. The new version will be available when the first new-format data is available in the archive.
All FITS light curves at the MAST archive will be updated to this new format. We we start the processing of updating the archive at the end of June 2011 and complete the task by the end of July 2011. If you require the old formats, please download them from MAST before the end of June. Q8 data will not be available in the old FITS format. The most notable changes include:

  • The barycenter-corrected time column is now given in units BJD - 2,454,833.
  • All flux units are now listed as electrons/second instead of electrons/cadence.
  • The ap_raw_flux column is now called SAP_FLUX and can be found in the 4th data column.
  • The ap_corr_flux column is now called PDCSAP_FLUX and can be found in the 8th data column.
  • A new column containing the background that was subtracted, SAP_BKG, is found in column 6.
  • A quality flag that labels when cosmic rays, safe modes, desaturations etc. occur, QUALITY, is found in column 10.
  • The motion of the target across the detector predicted from spacecraft attitude, POS_CORR1 and POS_CORR2, is found in column 19 and 20.
  • The centroid columns, ap_cent_row and ap_cent_col are now MOM_CENTR1 and MOM_CENTR2.
  • A third FITS image extension includes pixel maps for the target mask and aperture of the target.

SUPER-APERTURE TARGETS IN THE KEPLER FIELD
JUN 05, 2011

Kepler has been observing a number of regions in the field through large, custom apertures, locally coined the super-apertures. There are two types of target for the superapertures - open clusters and background regions devoid of bright stars. Data for each super-aperture is stored at MAST at the pixel level in target pixel files. Because they are not stars or galaxies, there is no KIC number associated with these pixels and as such, they are hard to find in the archive. The easiest way is to employ the Investigation ID search box on the Data Search and Retrieval Tool at MAST. The investigation ID for the clusters is 'STC' and the investigation ID for the large background apertures is 'EXBA'. To find e.g. all the background apertures, put 'EXBA' in the Investigation ID box on the data search page at MAST. It will return all large background apertures. In general there is one large background aperture per mod/out, each has a different Kepler ID each quarter. To find all data associated with the clusters, put 'STC' in the Investigation ID box on the data search page at MAST. It will return all data associated with the cluster data. However, not all data under this Investigation ID is a super-aperture. Some of these data files are individual stars in the cluster fields. To find only the super-apertures you need limit your search to the Kepler ID values that are not KIC numbers, these are all above the value 10,000,000. If you add the additional search parameter of '> 10000000' in the Kepler ID search box you will obtain only the super-apertures. Use the RA and Dec search fields to distinguish between the two open clusters.

KEPLER FULL-FRAME IMAGES CAUSING PROBLEMS FOR SOME IMAGE VIEWING SOFTWARE
JUN 01, 2011

We have identified a problem in the FITS keywords contained within the Kepler Full-Frame Images (FFIs) stored at MAST that has consequences for certain FITS image viewers. For the FFIs, we recommend using SAOImage ds9 to correctly display the celestial coordinate system. Outdated WCS keywords exist in the FFI headers that cause some FITS viewers, e.g. Gaia and Skycat, to display the wrong celestial coordinates. This problem will be remedied when the FFIs are reprocessed later in 2011.

SUMMER RESEARCH STUDENTS PLACED AT THE KEPLER OPERATIONS CENTER
JUN 01, 2011

Student interns have arrived for summer placements at the NASA Ames Research Center. Rachael Roettenbacher from the University of Michigan will be mapping starspot evolution and migration across multi-quarter Kepler data. Genesis Berlanga from San Jose State University will be studying rotation in Kepler white dwarfs. Students should contact us for similar opportunities occurring over the summer of 2012.

GUEST OBSERVERS VISIT THE KEPLER OPERATIONS CENTER
MAY 10, 2011

Don Walter and Jennifer Cash, Cycle 2 Guest Observers from South Carolina State University, visited the Guest Observer Office for two days in order to understand their software options and develop a data analysis strategy for their program on semi-regular variables. The Guest Observer Office extends the same invitation to all Guest Observers, KASC team members and Kepler archive users. Contact us by to set up a visit schedule.

NASA's ASTROPHYSICS DATA ANALYSIS PROGRAM FUNDS KEPLER ARCHIVAL RESEARCH
APR 21, 2011

The Astrophysics Data Analysis Program (ADAP) funds research whose primary emphasis is the analysis of NASA space astrophysics data that are archived in the public domain at the time of proposal submission. The deadline for applications this year is May 13. Kepler has a growing body of data that is eligible for funded research through the ADAP. Those Kepler light curves and target pixel files that are in the public domain are:

  • All Q0-Q2 data
  • All Q0-Q3 Guest Observer and KASC targets
  • Published Science Team and KASC targets
  • All dropped targets, i.e. identified red giants

In addition, all Kepler Full Frame Images (FFIs) obtained on a monthly cadence are available to the community and the ADAP program. We urge the US community to propose for ADAP resources to exploit these Kepler data and contact the for technical advice during proposal preparation.

SOREN MEIBOM VISITS THE KEPLER OPERATIONS CENTER
APR 21, 2011

Soren Meibom of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics spent a two day visit at NASA Ames to exchange information with the developers of PDC MAP. PDC MAP is a version of Kepler Pre-Search Data Conditioning under development which will identify the common photometric structure over the full sample of Kepler targets, construct the principle components of quarterly systematic variability, and employ these to remove systematics from individual light curves. While still in development, we have high hopes that PDC MAP will provide extra protection against the removal of astrophysics from PDC data, can replace the current version of PDC within the Kepler data pipeline and products, and that both the principle components and adjustable community tools can be provided to Kepler users through the MAST archive. Soren's current work on open cluster targets is providing a test sample for the PDC MAP development.

THE FIRST KEPLER SCIENCE MEETING ANNOUNCED
APR 21, 2011

The First Kepler Science Conference will be held DEC 5-9, 2011; hosted by the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. The conference will highlight the full range of scientific results that have emerged from more than two years of Kepler observations, as well as what to expect from continued observations. The meeting will consist of 9-10 half-day sessions, each session dedicated to a different topic. Topics will include:

  • The Kepler Mission and Exoplanet Statistics
  • Earth-analog and sub-Neptune-size Planets
  • Multiple Planet Systems
  • Exoplanet Theory
  • Giant Planets and Planet Atmospheres
  • Eclipsing and Interacting Binaries
  • Stellar Activity
  • Asteroseismology Across the HR Diagram
  • Red Giant Oscillations
  • Asteroseismology of Solar-type Stars

The conference website is: http://kepler.nasa.gov/Science/ForScientists/keplerconference/. If you are interested in attending, please complete a short survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TKSPKMG.

CROSS-QUARTER DISCONTINUITIES IN KEPLER LIGHT CURVES
APR 21, 2011

Roi Alonso is a Kepler Guest Observer characterizing deep eclipses in the light curve of a close binary system. He noted that while the new target pixel archive products have great value in determining the fraction of target flux in the photometric pixel aperture and the amount of contamination from nearby sources, this still remains a tricky task because the community have no information to model the instrument PSF. The effects of aperture size and source contamination are most obvious across quarter boundaries. Roi asked if PSF information was available. The Science Office are indeed working on a PSF product for delivery to MAST. While there is no target date for delivery, we hope this can happen over the summer. Be aware though, PSF fitting is not a suitable option for all Kepler programs. The Kepler Science Office have used PSFs only for optimal aperture construction and astrometry. The PSFs ability to reconstruct photometry has not been systematically explored. PSF models are not perfect and the PSF is not well sampled generally by the relatively large detector pixels. PSF photometry will not provide the same relative photometric quality as simple aperture photometry across neighboring timestamps. Some astrophysics programs can afford PSF photometry, others cannot. We're predicting that PSF-fitting will a do fair job tracking target motion across the aperture due to differential velocity aberration and pointing offsets, but it is unlikely to model thermal events such as spacecraft safe modes as well, because the PSF data were obtained during a period of thermal stability. The PSF product is being provided so that the community can investigate it's suitability and application to their science programs.
Roi also asks whether accurate information will be made available about the detector positions of the target and background sources within the photometric aperture. Coming in the Q8 data release is additional information within the FITS light curves downloaded from MAST. It will have the detector location of the target for every timestamp recorded over the quarter. Provided you have an understanding of where your neighboring stars are relative to the target using either the KIC, another catalog or an independent observation, then you will be able to model the contamination within the photometric aperture for each timestamp in the series using the PSF models. All Q0-7 data will be reprocessed over the summer of 2011 in order to provide a more useful, uniform archive. In Q10, or thereabouts, FITS files will contain new keywords that describe fits to both the fraction of total flux in the aperture originating from the target, and the fraction of target flux contained within the aperture, at the mid-time of the quarter.

KEPLER FULL FRAME IMAGES AT MAST
APR 20, 2011

Once per month, Kepler obtains one full-frame image (FFI). These are used for diagnostics by the Science Office but a 1-month cadence full-frame archive also provides scientific opportunities for the community. Raw (kplrYYYYDDDhhmmss_ffi-orig.fits) and calibrated (kplrYYYYDDDhhmmss_ffi-cal.fits) FFIs are available to you at MAST. For the last three months, while FFIs have been obtained, technical difficulties have prevented their calibration. This problem will be removed when version 7.0 of the data pipeline is released in May and calibrated FFI data will flow again. However, a hole in the FFI delivery and ingest system has been found and FFIs named as calibrated have found their way onto the download site. Unfortunately neither the astrometry or photometry in these products is trustworthy. Until notified by the project, please delete any calibrated FFIs you have downloaded that were obtained after kplr2010326181728_ffi-cal.fits. The MAST archivists are working to remove the incorrect files. FFIs observed before this data remain good quality.

A KEPLER CLUSTER STUDY OF STELLAR ROTATION IN NGC 6811
APR 17, 2011

In a recently accepted article, Soren Meibom and co-authors present rotation periods for 71 single dwarf members of the open cluster NGC 6811, determined using Kepler photometry. The results are the first to combine Kepler's photometry with ground-based spectroscopy for cluster membership and binarity. The rotation periods delineate a tight sequence in the NGC 6811 color-period diagram from 1 day at mid-F to 11 days at early-K spectral type. This result extends to 1 Gyr similar prior results in the 600 Myr Hyades and Praesepe clusters, suggesting that rotation periods for cool dwarf stars delineate a well-defined surface in the 3-dimensional space of color (mass), rotation, and age. It implies that reliable ages can be derived for field dwarf stars with measured colors and rotation periods.

QUARTER 7 TARGET PIXEL FILES INGESTED AND AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD AT MAST
APR 14, 2011

The Kepler archive team at MAST completed the 6-day ingest process of Kepler target pixel files collected over quarter 7 (Sep 23 - Dec 22, 2010). Target pixel files belonging to Guest Observers, KASC and the Science Team can be downloaded by their data owners via the data search tool at MAST. These files are coupled to and complement the light curve data ingested on Apr 4. The exclusive use period for GO and KASC data is 1 year from the date of ingest, after which time data become available to the general public.

THE KEPLER CYCLE 3 GUEST OBSERVER PROGRAM FINALIZED
APR 14, 2011

Abstracts for the cycle 3 Guest Observer Program covering the period Jun 2011-Jun 2012 (Kepler quarters 10-13) are now online. The community are reminded to add programs to this list at any time through the Directors' Discretionary Target Program.

THE GUEST OBSERVER OFFICE VISITS THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
APR 11, 2011

Karen Kinemuchi returned from a two day visit with the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas. As well as a seminar on the astrophysics activities of the Kepler community, Karen hosted a data workshop showcasing the public archive, the Kepler data and how to exploit it. If your institution would benefit from a similar presentation, or you would like to visit the NASA Ames Research Center to familiarize yourself with data and the Kepler Team, please contact the .

CALL FOR DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY TARGETS FOR QUARTER 10 (JUN-SEP)
APR 08, 2011

There will be target slots available for Director's Discretionary Science in Q10. The slots will be used for targets that are not currently observed through the KASC or GO programs but have high scientific yield or potential. Members of the community are urged to nominate targets for up to 100 free slots with a short scientific justification sent to the . In previous quarters, the discretionary target program provided a fast-track to new Kepler data that yield rapid, high-impact science. It can be used to reinstate interesting targets dropped from the planetary list. It can be used to respond to "targets of opportunity" and provides a mechanism for pilot studies before the next annual GO cycle. The discretionary program can also enhance existing GO programs with additional data. The deadline for proposing discretionary targets is Apr 23.

NEW KEPLER DATA FOLDING TOOL DELIVERED TO PyKEP
APR 08, 2011

A python-based tool for folding data upon astrophysical ephemerides has been added to the PyKEP software bundle. User documentation and download instructions are provided. As usual, this is an open source development, bug reports and code improvements are welcomed by the .

THE IMPACT OF US GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN ON KEPLER
APR 08, 2011

If it indeed occurs, the impending government shutdown on Apr 9, 12:01am EST will have no impact on the nominal operation of the Kepler spacecraft. The spacecraft will continue to operate, and the Mission Operations Center will continue to watch over it, issue commands and downlink data. However, once the data is safely on the ground, the analysis and distribution of the data is not considered critical and will be postponed until funding is again available. Critical people are authorized to continue working on Kepler here at NASA Ames during a shutdown, but that work will be limited to ensuring the continued health and operation of the spacecraft. In the event of a spacecraft anomaly, additional people are authorized to be called in to work. The Operation Team's focus is upon the protection of the Kepler spacecraft and its data as a significant national asset.

KEPLER DISCOVERS A NEW TRIPLY ECLIPSING COMPACT HIERARCHICAL TRIPLE SYSTEM
APR 08, 2011

Hierarchical triple systems comprise a close binary and a more distant component. They are important for testing theories of star formation and of stellar evolution in the presence of nearby companions. From Kepler, Derekas et al. (2011) obtained 218 days of Kepler photometry of HD 181068 (V = 7.1), supplemented by ground-based spectroscopy and interferometry, which show it to be a hierarchical triple with two types of mutual eclipses. The primary is a red giant that is in a 45-day orbit with a pair of red dwarfs in a close 0.9-day orbit. The red giant shows evidence for tidally-induced oscillations that are driven by the orbital motion of the close pair. HD 181068 is an ideal target for studies of dynamical evolution and testing tidal friction theories in hierarchical triple systems. Results are reported in this weeks Science journal.

ENSEMBLE ASTEROSEISMOLOGY OF SOLAR-TYPE STARS
APR 08, 2011

Chaplin et al. (2011) report in Science that the asteroseismic survey undertaken by Kepler has met with unprecedented success, yielding clear detections of oscillations in 500 solar-type stars. Distributions of the fundamental properties of these stars show intriguing differences to predictions from models of synthetic stellar populations in the Galaxy. This is important for population studies because the availability of mass estimates for all stars in the ensemble provides tests to theories of stellar evolution to levels not previously possible.

ASTRONOMY PICTURE OF THE DAY: ECHOES FROM THE DEPTHS OF A RED GIANT STAR
APR 08, 2011

The Kepler mission provided the Astronomy Picture of the Day for the second time in ten days, celebrating the discovery of core-driven gravity mode pulsations in red giant stars by Bedding et al. (2011) and Beck et al. (2011).

BUG FOUND IN THE CURRENT VERSION OF STScI's PYRAF PACKAGE MAC DISTRIBUTION
APR 07, 2011

The Kepler GO Office have been developing data analysis tools using the PyRAF tools distributed by STScI for HST and future JWST data analysis. The latest Mac distribution provided in the iraf.intel.snow_leopard.dmg bundle at the stsci_python v2.11 download page installs without trouble but contains a bug that prevents the PyRAF Kepler package from executing. The scipy.optimize module is not available and several of our data fitting tasks rely upon it. If Mac users have downloaded and installed this version, we recommend that they revert to the previous distribution stsci_python v2.10. The PyRAF developers at STScI are aware of the bug and will fix the issue for v2.12.

QUARTER 7 LIGHT CURVES INGESTED AND AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD AT MAST
APR 04, 2011

The Kepler archive team at MAST completed the 6-day ingest process of Kepler light curves collected over quarter 7 (Sep 23 - Dec 22, 2010). Light curves belonging to Guest Observers, KASC and the Science Team can be downloaded by their data owners via the data search tool at MAST. The exclusive use period for GO and KASC data is 1 year from the date of ingest, after which data become available to the general public. The exclusive use period for Science Team data is to be reviewed. The ingest of quarter 7 target pixel files is now ongoing.

TARGET PIXEL FILES PROVE TO BE POPULAR DOWNLOADS AT THE KEPLER DATA ARCHIVE
MAR 31, 2011

The Kepler Operation Center recently delivered calibrated pixel level data, the target pixels files, to the data archive at MAST, to augment and complement the existing Q0-Q6 light curve files. Target pixel files provide new information to the Kepler community, such as time-tagged target images, pixel mask and optimal aperture definitions, data quality flags mapping spacecraft anomalies, and, in the near future, target motions on the CCD over time. Users can also re-extract light curves over new apertures using the community software tools kepmask and kepextract. The MAST archivists today reported that ~50,000 target pixel files have been downloaded via ~500 requests by 40 different MAST users since ingest.

GRAVITY MODES DISTINGUISH DIFFERENT SHELL-BURNING STAGES IN KEPLER RED GIANT TARGETS
MAR 31, 2011

KASC scientists present a Nature letter and Science paper containing the first discovery and statistical study of mixed gravity modes in Kepler red giant stars. They provide a measure of the evolutionary state of post-main sequence core and shell burning through their pulsation period spacing.

SOC PIPELINE REVIEW
MAR 29, 2011

Project managers converged upon the Kepler Operations Center at the NASA Ames Research Center in order to review mission plans for Kepler data pipeline development through 2011 and into 2012. Approval was provided to prioritize the work of cotrending spacecraft systematics using new principle components derived from common structure found in large local samples of quiet Kepler targets. It is predicted that these developments will provide a leap in the quality of conditioned Kepler data in the archive, a major improvement for transit detection and a major boon for community-led Kepler astrophysics through archive mining and within the Guest Observer and KASC programs.

ASTRONOMY PICTURE OF THE DAY: KEPLER'S STARS AND PLANETS
MAR 29, 2011

The Kepler mission provided today's Astronomy Picture of the Day, illustrating all 1,235 candidate planets and their host stars from the Borucki et al. (2011) catalog.

KEPLER USERS' PANEL MEETS
MAR 28, 2011

The Kepler Users' Panel (KUP) are a group of community scientists exploiting Kepler data through archive mining, the Guest Observer Program and collaboration with the Kepler Science Team. They provide independent advice to the mission on operational and scientific strategy. The KUP traveled to the Kepler Operations Center at the NASA Ames Research Center for two days of discussion with project scientists. The individuals on the KUP can be identified and corresponded with from the KUP webpage, their written recommendations resulting from this meeting will be posted there in the near future once they deliver the document to the Kepler Team.

NEW RECRUIT AT THE KEPLER OPERATIONS CENTER: TOM BARCLAY
MAR 28, 2011

The Kepler Operations Center at Ames welcomes a new recruit in Tom Barclay, a recent PhD graduate from Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland. Tom will be working within the Science and Guest Observer Offices to develop community data analysis tools, specifically cotrending algorithms for removing detector artifacts and quarter-stitching strategies. He will also be developing legacy archive products and developing target reduction policies for mission extension scenarios.


Questions concerning Kepler's science opportunities and open programs, public archive or community tools? Contact us via the email address.
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