The K2 mission: characterization and early results

Steve B. Howell, Charlie Sobeck, Michael Haas, Martin Still, Thomas Barclay, Fergal Mullally, John Troeltzsch, Suzanne Aigrain, Stephen T. Bryson, Doug Caldwell, William J. Chaplin, William D. Cochran, Daniel Huber, Geoffrey W. Marcy, Andrea Miglio, Joan R. Najita, Marcie Smith, J. D. Twicken, Jonathan J. Fortney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

874 Citations (Scopus)


The K2 mission will make use of the Kepler spacecraft and its assets to expand upon Kepler's groundbreaking discoveries in the fields of exoplanets and astrophysics through new and exciting observations. K2 will use an innovative way of operating the spacecraft to observe target fields along the ecliptic for the next 2-3 years. Early science commissioning observations have shown an estimated photometric precision near 400 ppm in a single 30 minute observation, and a 6-hr photometric precision of 80 ppm (both at V = 12). The K2 mission offers long-term, simultaneous optical observation of thousands of objects at a precision far better than is achievable from ground-based telescopes. Ecliptic fields will be observed for approximately 75 days enabling a unique exoplanet survey which fills the gaps in duration and sensitivity between the Kepler and TESS missions, and offers prelaunch exoplanet target identification for JWST transit spectroscopy. Astrophysics observations with K2 will include studies of young open clusters, bright stars, galaxies, supernovae, and asteroseismology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-408
Number of pages11
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number938
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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