AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Kepler and K2: Spawning a Revolution in Astrophysics from Exoplanets to Supernovae (Abstract)

Volume 45 number 1 (2017)

David Ciardi
Chief Scientist, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech/IPAC-NExScI, 1200 East California Avenue, Mail Code: 100-22, Pasadena, CA 91125; ciardi@ipac.caltech.edu

Abstract

(Abstract only) Launched in 2009, the Kepler Mission helped to redefine our understanding of the extra-solar planets and began a revolution in how we view our own Solar System. But Kepler was more than an exoplanet finding mission, Kepler helped to redefine how we looked at stars and greatly improved upon our knowledge of how stars work and evolve. After Kepler suffered a mechanical failure which nearly ended the mission, Kepler was reborn at K2. Unlike Kepler which just stared at spot on the sky, K2 has pointed at 11 different areas of the galaxy and has enabled studies not previously possible with Kepler including supernovae studies and searches for planets with microlensing events. I present an overview of the results of Kepler and K2 and how this is leading us to the future with TESS.