Kepler Mission Information
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 changes produced by planetary transits.
See the Kepler data release schedule.
Exoplanet Archive Kepler resources
Threshold Crossing Events
A Threshold Crossing Event (TCE) is a sequence of transit-like features in the flux time series of a given target that resembles the signature of a transiting planet to a sufficient degree that the target is passed on for further analysis.
Kepler Object of Interest (Planetary Candidates)
The Kepler Project identifies potential planetary candidates from the TCE list and designates these objects as Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs). These
objects are subjected to futher vetting and at this stage, some objects will be flagged as false positives. For more information on this
process, see the Kepler Extended Mission data philosophy
- All KOI tables are displayed in a single interactive table with separate tabs for
each table (i.e. Q1-6, Q1-8, cumulative, etc). Column selection and filtering will apply to all tabs, allowing easier comparison of
values across KOI tables. A complete list of how table functions operate with tabs is
- Current KOI tables:
- Kepler Objects of Interest table column defintions
Stellar information for observed Kepler targets
The stellar table contains parameters for all targets observed by Kepler for the purpose of finding transiting planets. The current stellar table matches the values used by the Kepler pipeline when fitting TCEs identified in the Q1-Q12 data. Future deliveries will include values provided by the Kepler Stellar working group.
Archive tools for working with Kepler data
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
- 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.