K2 keeps on rolling – the start of Campaign 1 observations

NASA has recently approved funding for the two-wheeled Kepler mission dubbed ‘K2.’ Field 0 was an engineering field that Kepler started monitoring before the senior review decision. The data will be science quality with Kepler monitoring about ~8000 sources, which includes open cluster M35. Observations started on March 8th and were recently completed on May 30th. You can see the proposals astronomers put in requesting targets for Kepler to monitor and the final selected target list here.

With the Senior Review decision and the funding, the K2 mission officially starts with observations of Campaign 1. On May 30th, Field 1 observations officially commenced and should last for roughly 75 days. You can find out which targets Kepler is observing in Field 1 here.

The engineering data of Field 0 should now have been downloaded to the ground and is likely  undergoing processing at NASA. The preliminary data products should be ready hopefully sometime in August. With new stars there will be chances to find new undiscovered planets. The  Planet Hunters team and Zooniverse team are working on ways to have the data ready and accessible on the website soon after it is released by NASA and the Kepler team to the astronomical community and the public. Stay tuned to the blog as we get closer to August.


Credit: ESO/S. Brunier/NASA Kepler Mission/Wendy Stenzel.

Credit: ESO/S. Brunier/NASA Kepler Mission/Wendy Stenzel.