Kepler: Asteroseismology of Solar-Like Oscillators in a 2-Wheel Mission

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2013


We comment on the potential for continuing asteroseismology of solar-type and red-giant stars in a 2-wheel Kepler Mission. Our main conclusion is that by targeting stars in the ecliptic it should be possible to perform high-quality asteroseismology, as long as favorable scenarios for 2-wheel pointing performance are met.

Targeting the ecliptic would potentially facilitate unique science that was not possible in the nominal Mission, notably from the study of clusters that are significantly brighter than those in the Kepler field. Our conclusions are based on predictions of 2-wheel observations made by a space photometry simulator, with information provided by the Kepler Project used as input to describe the degraded pointing scenarios. We find that elevated levels of frequency-dependent noise, consistent with the above scenarios, would have a significant negative impact on our ability to continue asteroseismic studies of solar-like oscillators in the Kepler field. 

However, the situation may be much more optimistic for observations in the ecliptic, provided that pointing resets of the spacecraft during regular desaturations of the two functioning reaction wheels are accurate at the < 1 arcsec level. This would make it possible to apply a post-hoc analysis that would recover most of the lost photometric precision.

Without this post-hoc correction---and the accurate re-pointing it requires---the performance would probably be as poor as in the Kepler-field case. Critical to our conclusions for both fields is the assumed level of pointing noise (in the short-term jitter and the longer-term drift). We suggest that further tests will be needed to clarify our results once more detail and data on the expected pointing performance becomes available, and we offer our assistance in this work.

W. J Chaplin, H. Kjeldsen, J. Christensen-Dalsgaard, R. L. Gilliland, S. D. Kawaler, S. Basu, J. De Ridder, D. Huber, T. Arentoft, J. Schou, R. A. Garcia, T. S. Metcalfe, K. Brogaard, T. L. Campante, Y. Elsworth, A. Miglio, T. Appourchaux, T. R. Bedding, S. Hekker, G. Houdek, C. Karoff, J. Molenda-Zakowicz, M. J. P. F. G. Monteiro, V. Silva Aguirre, D. Stello, W. Ball, P. G. Beck, A. C. Birch, D. L. Buzasi, L. Casagrande, T. Cellier, E. Corsaro, O. L. Creevey, G. R. Davies, S. Deheuvels, G. Dogan, L. Gizon, F. Grundahl, J. Guzik, R. Handberg, A. Jimenez, T. Kallinger, M. N. Lund, M. Lundkvist, S. Mathis, S. Mathur, A. Mazumdar, B. Mosser, C. Neiner, M. B. Nielsen, P. L. Palle, M. H. Pinsonneault, D. Salabert, A. M. Serenelli, H. Shunker, T. R. White (Submitted on 3 Sep 2013)

Comments: NASA Kepler Mission White Paper; 10 pages, 2 figures

Subjects: Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)

Cite as: arXiv:1309.0702 [astro-ph.SR]

(or arXiv:1309.0702v1 [astro-ph.SR] for this version) Submission history From: William Chaplin [v1] Tue, 3 Sep 2013 14:38:08 GMT (432kb)

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