Kepler Mission Information

Kepler Mission

The Kepler Mission, a NASA Discovery mission launched on March 6, 2009, is the first space mission to search for Earth-size and smaller planets in the habitable zone of other stars in our neighborhood of the galaxy. Kepler is a special-purpose spacecraft that precisely measures the light variations from thousands of distant stars, looking for planetary transits. When a planet passes in front of its parent star, as seen from our solar system, it blocks a small fraction of the light from that star; this is known as a transit. Searching for transits of distant Earths is like looking for the drop in brightness when a moth flies across a searchlight. Measuring repeated transits, all with a regular period, duration and change in brightness, provides a method for discovering and confirming planets and their orbits—planets the size of Earth and smaller in the habitable zone around other stars similar to our Sun. Kepler continuously monitors over 100,000 stars similar to our Sun for brightness ch anges produced by planetary transits.

See the Kepler data release schedule.

Exoplanet Archive Kepler resources

General Documentation

  Interactive Tables (Also see: How to use interactive tables) Documentation and Other Information
Kepler Object of Interest (KOI) Activity Tables Cumulative
Threshold-Crossing Events Q1-Q16 Q1-Q12
Stellar Information for Observed Kepler Targets
Search interface to interactive table:

Q1-12 and Q1-16 data
Kepler, KOI Numbers and KIC Identifiers

Additional Mission Resources

  • Kepler discoveries
  • MAST Archive: The Kepler mission archive at MAST contains proprietary and public light curves and pixel data, the Kepler Input Catalog, Data Release Notes and auxillary mission data.
  • Kepler Science Center: The Kepler Project provides community opportunities and resources to both develop observing programs and mine the Kepler data archive for exoplanet candidates and more general astrophysics.
  • The Making of Kepler Planet Candidates: A flow diagram and Q & A article that explains how Kepler data are processed and how, in the extended mission, it is being done in public view.
  • Kepler Eclipsing Binary catalog (V2). The NASA Exoplanet Archive currently contains information from the published version of the Kepler eclipsing binary catalog (Slawson et al). Recent updates to the catalog are available at

Last updated: 26 November 2013