Gaps in the Data

I wanted to give a brief update on the gap question and talk a little more about what causes those gaps in the data.

You might have noticed that the gap question is no more. All of the lightcurve sections from Quarter 2 have breaks of varying sizes in them which was not the case for the Q1 data, so we removed the gap question from the interface yesterday. The gaps are caused by a few different things: Kepler went into safe mode and wasn’t taking data, the spacecraft was rotating towards the Earth, the spacecraft has executing a roll (or quarterly roll as its called) to reorient its solar panels, or the data is bad either due to a cosmic ray hit or something else.

The spacecraft rolls and safe mode tend to make of the majority of the data breaks. Kepler must rotate towards Earth to send its science data on timescales of approximately 30 days. During those monthly data downlinks Kepler must point away from the field and point its antenna towards the Earth to send the 150,000 lightcurves of data collected to the science operations center via NASA’s Deep Space Network. Every few months, the spacecraft must also reposition its solar panels toward the Sun and point Kepler’s radiator into deep space with a quarter turn, which causes an additional gap of about 1 day in the lightcurves. The reason we don’t see any gaps in the Q1 data (about 35 days) is because it encompasses one downlink of data, but since Q2 is 90 days there is both the quarterly and month rolls.

I’m off to Kitt Peak for an observing run to observe a transit in our own solar system. Dwarf planet Huamea’s moon (Nemaka) is passing in front of Haumea Friday night and I’ll be attempting to observe the drop in light caused by Nemaka on the WIYN telescope (3.5 m) while my collaborators will be observing the event from the Hale Telescope (200 inch) at Palomar Observatory.

Happy Hunting,

~Meg

PS. I also wanted to say thank you for everyone’s patience and understanding while we’ve sorted out the Q2 data upload and the Talk links.They should hopefully be done late tonight early tomorrow

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