Solar System Observations with the K2 Mission

The K2 mission will make use of the Kepler spacecraft and its assets to expand upon Kepler’s groundbreaking discoveries 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 150 ppm in a single 30 minute observation, and a 6-hr photometric precision of 40 ppm (both at V = 12). The K2 mission offers long-term, simultaneous optical observations of thousands of objects at a precision far better than is achievable from ground-based telescopes.  K2 will provide limited opportunities for solar system observations. Generally, slow moving sources and major planets between V=4 and 20 will be possible targets. K2 has a funded GO program accepting proposals twice a year.

As a dedicated effort to discuss the scientific capabilities of the K2 mission for Solar System science, the NASA Planetary Science and Astrophysics divisions are holding a joint workshop at the 46th Annual Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences in Tucson. The workshop is scheduled on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM; Arizona Ballroom 1-4 ; This workshop will consist of: 1) Presentations on the K2 mission as well as Solar System observations with the mission, and 2) Discussion with the broader community to identify observatory capabilities and envision future opportunities.