Kepler/K2 Bright Stars

Kepler, launched in 2009, measures the brightness (photometry) of tens to hundreds of thousands of stars at a time every ~30 minutes to produce 'light curves' with two chief objectives: to detect planets orbiting these stars by the dip in brightness as they pass in front of the star; and to study the physics of stars themselves. The nominal Kepler mission lasted 3.5 years and studied ~170,000 stars, only to be crippled by the failure of two of the reaction wheels necessary to steer the spacecraft. It has been revived as K2, with the spacecraft pointing balanced against radiation pressure from the Sun, allowing it to conduct ~ 80 day Campaigns in the ecliptic plane.

We have applied Gaussian Process non-parametric models to Bayesian calibration of systematics in K2 data, which is otherwise severely affected by pointing drift and thruster firings not present in nominal Kepler, in order to look for planets around these stars. We have discovered 145 such planet candidates, and continue to produce light curves, make these public, and search for planets as each new Campaign is released.

In the interests of open science, all our code and data is publicly available. Both our K2 Systematics Correction (K2SC) and K2 Planet Search (K2PS) packages are on GitHub, and all our corrected K2 light curves are available as High Level Science Products on the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes

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