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Kepler Science Center

The K2 mission provides an opportunity to continue Kepler’s ground-breaking discoveries in the field of exoplanets and expand its role into new and exciting astrophysical observations.

Kepler's loss of a second spacecraft reaction wheel in May 2013 effectively ended data collection in the original Kepler field after 4 years of continuous monitoring. However, all other Kepler assets remain intact and can be used for the K2 mission. Both missions are founded on the proven value of long-baseline, high-cadence, high-precision photometry and exploit a large field of view to simultaneously monitor many targets. On two reaction wheels, K2 is limited to pointing near the ecliptic plane, sequentially observing fields as it orbits the sun. This observing strategy regularly brings new, well-characterized target fields into view, enabling observations of scientifically important objects across a wide range of galactic latitudes in both the northern and southern skies. K2 will perform a series of long, ecliptic-pointed campaigns to collect data for the astrophysical community that will inform their understanding of planet formation processes, young stars, stellar activity, stellar structure and evolution, and extragalactic science.

In Jun 2014, K2 became fully operational, obtaining a photometric precision approaching closely that of the Kepler hardware it inherited. With an estimated photometric performance of 50 ppm (6.5-hr S/N for a 12th mag G star), the K2 mission offers simultaneous observations of many objects at a precision an order of magnitude better than is achievable from the ground. The proposed approximately 80-day observing campaigns enable a unique exoplanet survey which fills the gaps in duration and sensitivity between the Kepler and TESS missions, and offers pre-launch exoplanet target identification for JWST transmission spectroscopy.

All K2 targets are proposed by the community through the Guest Observer Program. The K2 mission welcomes all proposals including, but not exclusive to, exoplanet, stellar, extragalactic and solar system science.

K2 Science Conferene
Updates are posted to the Kepler/K2 Blog

Questions concerning K2's science opportunities and open programs, public archive or community tools? Contact us via the email address.
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NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Editor: Thomas Barclay
NASA Official: Jessie Dotson
Last Updated: May 29, 2014
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