Yesterday marks the start of a new era for the Kepler spacecraft with the public release of the first observations from K2, the two-wheeled Kepler mission.
After four years of staring at the same field and the failure of 2 reaction wheels on the Kepler spacecraft, Kepler is now observing ever changing fields on the ecliptic, plane of the Solar System, for periods of ~75 days. From March to May of this year, Kepler stared at the same patch of sky monitoring stars nearly continuously for planet transits, supernovae, among other reasons. You can find more details about Campaign 0 here and the K2 mission here. Now there’s a new set of stars never before looked at, that may be harboring unknown and undiscovered planets. The Planet Hunters science team and Zooniverse team are working hard to getting the K2 data prepared and ready for showing on the Planet Hunters website.
There are some new challenges to overcome in order to get the K2 data ready, but we’re working on making it possible in the near future to view K2 data Thanks to funding from JPL PlanetQuest, we’ve been able to rebuild the Planet Hunters website to make Planet Hunters 2.0. These past many months the Zooniverse development team and the science team have been working to make Planet Hunters 2 easier to use as well as faster and more efficient for searching for exoplanet transits in Kepler field data and especially with the K2 mission in mind. We’ve incorporated much of the feedback we’ve gotten from you over the past 3 years into the rebuild. The site is not quite ready from prime time, but will be very soon. Stay tuned to this space for more updates on Planet Hunters 2 and the K2 data. In the meantime if you have questions about the rebuild we’ll try to answer them on Talk here.