Mission Overview

Map of Observations

K2 footprints on the sky.

Wavelength Coverage

mission coverage

NOTE: The K2 mission is a follow-on to the Kepler mission, operated when the telescope was reduced to two reaction wheels.

The K2 mission observed 100 square degrees for 80 days, each across 20 different pointings along the ecliptic. The mission began when the original Kepler mission ended due to the loss of the second reaction wheel in 2013. The design of the K2 mission needed to periodically change the telescope's pointing to sample a variety of Galactic sight lines to maintain a reasonable pointing stability, balanced via the solar wind. While the mission continued to observe stars to detect transiting exoplanets, the variety of pointings enabled a wider variety of astrophysical research projects; in fact, the K2 mission was fully Guest Investigator-driven. The mission produced the same pixel-level and lightcurve data products as the original Kepler mission, however, the mission's planet search pipeline was not run.  A number of community-contributed lightcurves with pointing drift errors greatly mitigated were provided as High Level Science Products, and can complement the mission data in many science cases.

Active From

Feb. 4, 2014 - Sept. 26, 2018


4 arcseconds / pixel


  • Time Series
  • Photometry
  • Imaging

Data Availability

Consult the K2 reprocessing status tables (Major and Minor) for each Campaign. Blue means done in a re-processed version, black means done from first release.


All Documents
Featured Document Image

August 24,  2020

K2 Handbook

The K2 Handbook describes the engineering challenges and mitigation strategies of the K2 mission. It should be used in conjunction with the Kepler Archive Manual, Kepler Instrument Handbook, and Kepler Data Characteristics Handbook.

5 MB

June 10,  2020

February 22,  2018

3 MB

July 16,  2020

1 MB

April 22,  2016

25 MB

September 10,  2020

September 23,  2020

  • MAST Portal

    MAST Portal

    Search multiple missions using target names or coordinates.

  • exo.MAST


    Find and download exoplanet parameters, data visualizations, and MAST holdings by exoplanet.

  • K2 Data Search & Retrieval

    K2 Data Search & Retrieval

    K2-specific target pixel and lightcurve search.

  • K2 EPIC Search

    K2 EPIC Search

    Search the EPIC stellar catalog.



    Tools for programmatically querying the MAST Portal

  • Bulk Downloads

    Bulk Downloads

    Download scripts to retrieve complete sets of K2 data, such as light curves, target pixel files, full frame images, or engineering files.

  • Mission Related Software

    Mission Related Software

    This table is a curated list of software commonly used by the science community during the Kepler and K2 missions.

Featured Data Products

All K2 Data Products
  • Full Frame Images

    Raw, calibrated, and uncertainty full frame images.
  • Target Pixel Files

    Example K2 target pixel file.
    Target pixel files at short or long cadence.
  • Light Curves

    Example K2 light curve.
    Extracted, calibrated light curves at short or long cadence.

K2 Images


Field of view for all campaigns
supernova cosmology experiment patch design
Supernova Cosmology Experiment Patch
K2 Science Overview
K2 Science Overview

Image Credit: NASA Ames/W. Stenzel

How K2 worked. Image Credit: NASA Ames/W. Stenzel

Image Credit: NASA Ames/W. Stenzel