Kepler to image Earth and Moon on December 10, 2017

News article posted on by Geert Barentsen

During K2's upcoming Campaign 16, the Kepler spacecraft will be operated in its forward-facing mode to enable simultaneous observations of the K2 field to be carried out using ground-based telescopes.

A consequence of the forward-facing observing geometry is that the Earth-Moon system will be moving across Kepler's focal plane during the first 3 days of the Campaign, i.e. from December 7 through December 10, 2017.

We warn that our planet's passage will temporarily add noise to multiple CCD channels due to scattered light and saturation effects. To map the scattered light, the Campaign's first Full Frame Image (FFI) has been scheduled to capture Earth and Moon while they are in the field of view.

The Earth-Moon FFI will start on Sunday December 10 at 21:38 Universal Time (4:38pm Eastern, 1:38pm Pacific) using the standard 30-minute integration time. Kepler will be above the horizon across the United States at this time, so don't forget to smile and wave towards (ra, dec) = (320.4, -15.7) degrees during the exposure!

Kepler user Jim Davenport tweeted the following fan art to mark the occasion:

#WaveAtKepler Image Credit: Jim Davenport