Kepler Eyes 800 Objects of Interest

By Nick Gautier

As of November 15th 2010 Kepler operations are proceeding smoothly and data is being collected on 140,000 target stars for quarter 7 of the mission. About 800 Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) have been identified as possible planetary candidates and are being actively followed up to determine their true nature. Seven new planets have been confirmed and published. With this number of planets and planetary candidates the Kepler results are now beginning to explore the frequency and distribution of planets down to sizes as small as 1.5 times the Earth. The current list of active KOIs includes planetary periods up to 200 days. Longer period KOIs are being added as new data accumulates, extending the time base of observations. A paper describing the 306 KOIs released to the public in June is now in press (Borucki, et al. 2010, Astrophysical Journal submitted). Data for all 800 KOIs will be available in February 2011, accompanied by a paper describing their statistical properties. Papers on several new individual planets are in work and are expected to appear in the next six months. Quarter 2 of the data on all Kepler targets will be released this coming February. Further information on Kepler science and mission status can be found at and links therein.