Kepler mission design, realized photometric performance, and early science

David G. Koch, William J. Borucki, Gibor Basri, Natalie M. Batalha, Timothy M. Brown, Douglas Caldwell, Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard, William D. Cochran, Edna Devore, Edward W. Dunham, Thomas N. Gautier, John C. Geary, Ronald L. Gilliland, Alan Gould, Jon Jenkins, Yoji Kondo, David W. Latham, Jack J. Lissauer, Geoffrey Marcy, David MonetDimitar Sasselov, Alan Boss, Donald Brownlee, John Caldwell, Andrea K. Dupree, Steve B. Howell, Hans Kjeldsen, Søren Meibom, David Morrison, Tobias Owen, Harold Reitsema, Jill Tarter, Stephen T. Bryson, Jessie L. Dotson, Paul Gazis, Michael R. Haas, Jeffrey Kolodziejczak, Jason F. Rowe, Jeffrey E. Van Cleve, Christopher Allen, Hema Chandrasekaran, Bruce D. Clarke, Jie Li, Elisa V. Quintana, Peter Tenenbaum, Joseph D. Twicken, Hayley Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

871 Scopus citations


The Kepler Mission, launched on 2009 March 6, was designed with the explicit capability to detect Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of solar-like stars using the transit photometry method. Results from just 43days of data along with ground-based follow-up observations have identified five new transiting planets with measurements of their masses, radii, and orbital periods. Many aspects of stellar astrophysics also benefit from the unique, precise, extended, and nearly continuous data set for a large number and variety of stars. Early results for classical variables and eclipsing stars show great promise. To fully understand the methodology, processes, and eventually the results from the mission, we present the underlying rationale that ultimately led to the flight and ground system designs used to achieve the exquisite photometric performance. As an example of the initial photometric results, we present variability measurements that can be used to distinguish dwarf stars from red giants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L79-L86
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2 PART 2
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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