K2 Cycle 4: Highlights in future fields

News article posted on by Geert Barentsen

Proposals for targets to be observed by K2 in Campaigns 11, 12, and 13 are currently being solicited as part of K2 Guest Observer Cycle 4. Step 1 submissions for these proposals are due on February 5, 2016.

The fields of these campaigns will cover roughly 100 square degrees at a time near the constellations of Ophiucus (C11), Aquarius (C12), and Taurus (C13). All the objects that will be observed during these campaigns must be requested by the community through the Cycle 4 call.

To help the community select and propose the most interesting targets, the Guest Observer Office has prepared a "K2-SIMBAD" catalog which lists all 240,000 objects which appear in the SIMBAD database and will fall within the fields of future K2 Campaigns. The catalog details object IDs, spectral types, object classifications, citation counts, proper motions, and selected photometry as recorded in SIMBAD. It can be downloaded in full from our GitHub repository.

The K2-SIMBAD catalog does not replace the EPIC Input Catalog, which remains the principal target selection tool. Instead it provides an overview of objects that have appeared in the literature and may hence trigger or inspire K2 Cycle 4 proposals.

Below we list a selection of notable objects that we encountered in the catalog, along with interesting Solar System bodies that will be visible as determined by the K2ephem tool. This list is not exhaustive by any means and we encourage members of the community to share missing highlights for inclusion.

Highlights in Campaign 11

C11 is located near the Galactic Center in the region of Ophiucus. Notable objects in the field will include:

  • Saturn and its moons;
  • Messier 9: a 12 Gyr-old globular cluster, also known as NGC 6333;
  • BF Oph: a bright classical Cepheid;
  • Kepler's Supernova Remnant;
  • V2116 Oph: a symbiotic star (V=18);
  • Terzan 5: a global cluster in the Galactic Bulge;
  • Asteroid Ixion: a likely dwarf planet;
  • Asteroid Sylvia: an asteroid with two moons;
  • Asteroid 311999: a Mars Trojan;
  • Comet 116P/Wild 4.

Highlights in Campaign 12

C12 is located towards the South Galactic Cap, in the region of Aquarius. Notable objects in the field will include:

  • Mars
  • HIP 116454: a known exoplanet host star;
  • Comet Chiron: a comet with a suspected ring system;
  • 118401 LINEAR: a Main Belt Comet (MBC);
  • Asteroid Itokawa: visited by the Hayabuse spacecraft in 2005;
  • Comet 53P/Van Biesbroeck.

Highlights in Campaign 13

C13 is located towards the Galactic Anti-Center near Taurus. Notable objects in the field will include:

  • Aldebaran: a famous K-type giant, V=0;
  • Asteroid Annefrank: visited by the Stardust spacecraft in 2002;
  • The Taurus Star-Forming Region, including:
    • HL Tau: star with a protoplanetary disk famously imaged by ALMA (V=15);
    • LkCa15: thought to show an actively-forming exoplanet in direct imaging data;
    • AA Tau: contains an unconfirmed transiting 20 MJup companion (V=12);
    • V1213 Tau: associated with a Herbig Haro outflow (HH 30);
    • XZ Tau: binary young system which showed a superflare in 2000;
    • HBC 393: FUOr object, undergoing abrupt mass accretion events.
  • The Hyades open cluster, including:
    • eps Tau: a bright member of the Hyades with a known RV planet (V=4);
  • NGC 1817: 1 Gyr open cluster, ~2 kpc distance;
  • NGC 1647, 1746, 1750, 1802, 1807: open clusters, not well-studied.

Other candidate highlights

Along with the highlights listed above, the K2-SIMBAD catalog details thousands of known objects in Campaigns 11-13 including, but not limited to:

  • 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.

It is the task of the community to determine which of these objects are amenable to observations by the Kepler spacecraft. Again, note that targets which are not proposed will not be observed.