Making Way for Q16

Currently the light curves you are classifying on Planet Hunters come from Quarter 14 (Q14) of Kepler data. With the start of the new year, we’re close to having the classifications needed to move on to newer Kepler observations. We have a new quarter (90 days) of Kepler data processed and loaded into the website, poised and ready to start showing on the main classification interface once Q14 is complete.

We’ve decided to skip Quarter 15 for the moment and instead go on to Quarter 16 (Q16), the most recent hot off the presses data released by NASA and the Kepler team. Similar to Q14, the naming convention for Q16 starts with APHF to distinguish it from the other quarters of data already shown on Planet Hunters. You might have already noticed that the Q16 light curves are in Talk and the source pages.

Quarter 16 is the last full quarter of observations to come off of the Kepler spacecraft of the star field that Kepler had monitored for the past four years. Shortly after the start of Quarter 17, Kepler had a reaction wheel failure that has crippled the spacecraft such that it can no longer point with sufficient accuracy to look for planets as it had once done in the Kepler field. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the first full engineering test field observations of a two-wheeled Kepler mission (dubbed ‘K2’), to search for exoplanets around stars in the ecliptic plane, will begin in early March.

With any luck the NASA senior review this Spring will approve the K2 mission, and if all goes ahead there will be Kepler light curves of new stars coming for at least 2 more years , barring any unexpected spacecraft malfunctions. In the meantime we have the K2 engineering data to look forward to and the remaining primary mission Kepler data (Q1-Q17) to search through.

You can help make way for Quarter 16 by classifying light curves today at


2 responses to “Making Way for Q16”

  1. Brian Warren says :

    Thanks for that, Meg. I wish we had ALL quarters 1-16 inclusive, but we don’t have Q1.1-1.3, Q6.0-6.3, Q8.0-8.3, Q9.0-9.3, Q10.0-10.3, Q11.0-11.3, Q12.0-12.3, Q13.0-13.3 or Q15.0-15.3. That’s a whole LOT of data we could survey & make new discoveries in!!!
    I recognise that the Kepler Team have covered/are covering much, if not all, of these quarters, so we may never see them, but could you bring us up to speed on this matter?
    You are wonderful. Keep up your good work. We’re all there with you.
    Ps. I still can’t enter the ‘LIKE’ space to tell you that I ‘LIKE’ your good work quickly, without writing a volume to that effect.

    • Meg says :

      It’s part of how the site was originally designed. If we put all the quarters of Kepler main mission data onto the source pages it would slow the main interface to a crawl because they share the same database. So it requires redoing the backend of the site. We have funding to start from the ground up and build a version 2.0 of Planet Hunters. So was decided by the development team it would be best to spend the development effort on version 2 and fix this issue in the design of the version 2 website and database than spend time trying to edit the current version of the Planet Hunters website.

      In terms of the like button, you need to have a wordpress account. I tried mine and it let me like the post. Not sure what the issue is if you do have a wordpress account since I can’t replicate it.


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