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Kepler Guest Observer Program

PyKE Primer

The Kepler spacecraft has collected data of high photometric precision and cadence almost continuously since operations began on 2009 May 2. Primarily designed to detect planetary transits and asteroseismological signals from solar-like stars, Kepler has provided high quality data for many areas of investigation. Unconditioned simple aperture time-series photometry are however affected by systematic structure. Examples of these systematics are differential velocity aberration, thermal gradients across the spacecraft, and pointing variations. While exhibiting some impact on Kepler’s primary science, these systematics can critically handicap potentially ground-breaking scientific gains in other astrophysical areas, especially over long timescales greater than 10 days. As the data archive grows to provide light curves for 2 x 105 stars of many years in length, Kepler will only fulfill its broad potential for stellar astrophysics if these systematics are understood and mitigated. Post-launch developments in the Kepler archive, data reduction pipeline and open source data analysis software have occurred to remove or reduce systematic artifacts. This conceptual primer for users of the Kepler data archive provides a means to understand and recognize systematic artifacts within light curves and some methods for their removal. Specific examples of artifact mitigation are provided using data available within the archive. Through the methods defined here, the Kepler community will find a road map to maximizing the quality and employment of the Kepler legacy archive.

  1. Introduction
  2. Data Resources
  3. Target Pixel Files
  4. Light Curve Files
  5. Cotrending Basis Vectors
  6. Quarter Stitching
  7. Walk-through Examples


Questions concerning Kepler's science opportunities and open programs, public archive or community tools? Contact us via the email address.
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NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Editor: Martin Still
NASA Official: Jessie Dotson
Last Updated: Jan 11, 2013
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