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K2 and the Microlensing Experiment

K2 and the Microlensing Experiment

I gave a 2016 NASA Ames Director's Colloquium Series talk. This was a mix of Kepler, K2 and Campaign 9 microlensing.

Abstract:
The NASA Kepler mission was launched in 2009 with the goal of detecting planets orbiting other stars. The scientific impact of this mission has been almost without peer, fundamentally changing the picture we have of our place in the Galaxy. After four years the Kepler mission ended and the telescope was repurposed as the K2 mission in 2014. K2 has emerged as an unlikely jewel in NASA’s astrophysics portfolio, facilitating scientific discoveries in a wide array of astronomy subfields, including galaxies, supernovae, open clusters, active galactic nuclei, Solar System planets and exoplanets.

During the summer of 2016, the K2 mission is undertaking a unique science experiment. Microlensing events occur when stars and planets pass in front of a background star and bend its light revealing the hitherto undetected foreground body. Observing a patch of sky close to the Galactic center simultaneously from Earth and the Kepler spacecraft is allowing scientists to see different lensing patterns which stem from the minutely different angle that Earth and Kepler perceive the background star. The K2 microlensing experiment will yield new Jupiter-like planet detections as well as many short-timescale microlensing events, which are indicative of free-floating planets. The parallax measurements will allow for the direct measurement of the masses of and distances to the lensing systems.

Dr. Barclay will share the story of how scientists and engineers worked around the clock to salvage the mission after its reaction wheels malfunctioned, turning it into a highly successful mission that is revolutionizing many fields of astronomy. He will discuss his experiences working on the Kepler and K2 Missions searching for other Earths, and will highlight the latest results from the K2 microlensing experiment that will pave the way for NASA’s WFIRST mission.

https://www.nasa.gov/ames/ocs/2016-summer-series/thomas-Barclay/

Tom Barclay

June 27, 2016
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Transcript

  1. K2 and the Microlensing Experiment
    Tom Barclay
    NASA Ames Research Center
    July 5, 2016

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  2. NASA’s Kepler Mission:
    What fraction of stars in our galaxy harbor potentially
    habitable, earth-size planets?

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  3. Detecting Planets

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  4. Jupiter Earth

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  5. *
    *
    March 6, 2009

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  6. Go into space far away from Earth
    May 2009 – May 2013

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  7. The Kepler Field of View
    May 2009 – May 2013

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  8. Detecting Planets
    Orbital Period
    Relative
    Size of
    Planet

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  9. Turning Pixels into Planets

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  10. Exoplanet Detections, 1995-2009
    Radius Relative to Earth
    Orbital Period in days
    Earth
    Jupiter

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  11. Exoplanet Detections, 1995-2013
    Radius Relative to Earth
    Orbital Period in days
    Earth
    Jupiter

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  12. Exoplanet Detections, 2015
    Earth
    >2300 Confirmed >4600 Candidates

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  13. Stare at the same field continuously

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  14. Kepler Mechanical Failure
    Pointing requires 3 reaction
    wheels (x,y,z axes)
    Kepler launched with 4
    = End of Prime Mission
    Failure #1 in June 2012
    Failure #2 in May 2013

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  15. The NASA K2 Mission
    Extending Kepler’s Legacy to the Ecliptic

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  16. K2 is an extended mission utilizing two reaction wheels + solar
    pressure to balance the Kepler spacecraft to control pointing
    What is K2?

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  17. Balancing Solar Pressure
    Top-down view

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  18. 30° 53°
    Balancing Solar Pressure
    Spacecraft must keep
    solar panel pointed
    at the sun.
    Limits time it can
    stare at a single
    field to 80-90 days
    (depending on
    the spacecraft
    orbital phase)

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  19. Each field is observed for
    approx. 80 days
    K2 Campaigns

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  20. Current Status
    Senior Review 2014
    Senior Review 2016
    Campaign 9
    Supernova-focused

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  21. New Science in K2
    The is no “K2 mission goal”, all science must be
    proposed by the community.

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  22. Giant Planets in the Solar System

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  23. Bodies in the Outer Solar System
    Pal, Szabó, Szabó et al. (2014)

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  24. The Pleiades

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  25. Photometry of the Seven Sisters
    The Pleiades

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  26. K2 is Still an Exoplanet Powerhouse
    We have two main focus areas
    Finding exoplanets amenable to radial velocity follow-up
    Detecting exoplanet orbiting nearby cool stars

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  27. Finding Exoplanet Targets for Followup

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  28. Finding Exoplanets
    Around Cool Stars

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  29. Finding Exoplanets
    Around Cool Stars

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  30. K2 Microlensing Experiment

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  31. What is Gravitational Microlensing?
    Lensing effect predicted by
    Einstein over 70 years ago

    Used to determine mass of
    foreground objects (galaxies,
    stars, etc.)

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  32. “The chance magnification of the light from a distant star by
    the distortion in spacetime due to the mass of a foreground
    star and its planets”
    Microlensing & the Hunt for Exoplanets

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  33. Microlensing!
    40

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  34. 9
    Microlensing Campaign 9
    Spacecraft turned 180 degrees
    to point at Galactic Bulge

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  35. 45
    Exoplanet Demographics

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  36. Simultaneous Observations from Earth and Space
    Obtaining sufficient telescope resources was a key
    component to a successful campaign and our #1 risk

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  37. *513 Microlensing
    Events as of today

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  38. Preparation for WFIRST
    How many free-floating Earth-analogs will WFIRST detect?
    Free-floating Jupiter-analogs?
    K2 Microlensing experiment will provide early estimates
    Stay Tuned!

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  39. Extra Slides

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  40. Completing the Exoplanet Census

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  41. Early Demonstration
    *513 Microlensing Events from C9

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  42. K2 Microlensing Experiment
    artwork ©Jon Lomberg 2016

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  43. Finding Exoplanet Targets for Followup

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  44. Finding Exoplanet Targets for Followup

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  45. Finding Exoplanet Targets for Followup

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  46. Check keplerscience.arc.nasa.gov for updates

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  47. ‘Interesting’ targets in
    upcoming fields

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  48. ‘Interesting’ targets in
    upcoming fields
    2040 M-type stars;
    1270 RR Lyr Variables;
    1219 Quasars;
    727 High proper-motion stars
    280 Mira Variables;
    252 Young Stellar Objects;
    167 Active Galactic Nuclei;
    152 White Dwarfs (3 pulsating);
    133 Herbig Haro Objects;
    71 T Tauri Stars;
    57 Brown Dwarfs;
    29 Blue Stragglers;
    18 O-type stars;
    16 Cataclysmic Variables;
    11 Symbiotic Stars;
    4 Wolf Rayet stars;
    1 FU Orionis variable.

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  49. Advocate for future fields
    - Positions of fields for Campaign 14-18 are not yet set
    - Contact us to advocate for changes
    [email protected]
    • keplerscience.arc.nasa.gov

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  50. Photometric Performance
    Photometric
    performance
    from C3 onward
    is essentially the
    same as Kepler
    prime for bright
    stars
    Vanderburg et al. 2015, Ricker et al 2014,
    + Vanderburg, priv. comm.
    Yellow is K2 , blue is Kepler prime,
    black line is TESS predictions

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