The Kepler Mission seeks to detect Earth-size planets transiting solar-like stars in its ∼115deg2 field of view over the course of its 3.5 year primary mission by monitoring the brightness of each of ∼156,000 Long Cadence stellar targets with a time resolution of 29.4 minutes. We discuss the photometric precision achieved on timescales relevant to transit detection for data obtained in the 33.5 day long Quarter 1 (Q1) observations that ended 2009 June 15. The lower envelope of the photometric precision obtained at various timescales is consistent with expected random noise sources, indicating that Kepler has the capability to fulfill its mission. The Kepler light curves exhibit high precision over a large dynamic range, which will surely permit their use for a large variety of investigations in addition to finding and characterizing planets. We discuss the temporal characteristics of both the raw flux time series and the systematic error-corrected flux time series produced by the Kepler Science Pipeline, and give examples illustrating Kepler's large dynamic range and the variety of light curves obtained from the Q1 observations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science