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Characterizing the Variability of Stars with Early-release Kepler Data

Ciardi, David R. and von Braun, Kaspar and Bryden, Geoff and van Eyken, Julian and Howell, Steve B. and Kane, Stephen R. and Plavchan, Peter and Ramírez, Solange V. and Stauffer, John R. (2011) Characterizing the Variability of Stars with Early-release Kepler Data. Astronomical Journal, 141 (4). Art. No. 108. ISSN 0004-6256.

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We present a variability analysis of the early-release first quarter of data publicly released by the Kepler project. Using the stellar parameters from the Kepler Input Catalog, we have separated the sample into 129,000 dwarfs and 17,000 giants and further sub-divided the luminosity classes into temperature bins corresponding approximately to the spectral classes A, F, G, K, and M. Utilizing the inherent sampling and time baseline of the public data set (30 minute sampling and 33.5 day baseline), we have explored the variability of the stellar sample. The overall variability rate of the dwarfs is 25% for the entire sample, but can reach 100% for the brightest groups of stars in the sample. G dwarfs are found to be the most stable with a dispersion floor of σ ~ 0.04 mmag. At the precision of Kepler, >95% of the giant stars are variable with a noise floor of ~0.1 mmag, 0.3 mmag, and 10 mmag for the G giants, K giants, and M giants, respectively. The photometric dispersion of the giants is consistent with acoustic variations of the photosphere; the photometrically derived predicted radial velocity distribution for the K giants is in agreement with the measured radial velocity distribution. We have also briefly explored the variability fraction as a function of data set baseline (1-33 days), at the native 30 minute sampling of the public Kepler data. To within the limitations of the data, we find that the overall variability fractions increase as the data set baseline is increased from 1 day to 33 days, in particular for the most variable stars. The lower mass M dwarf, K dwarf, and G dwarf stars increase their variability more significantly than the higher mass F dwarf and A dwarf stars as the time baseline is increased, indicating that the variability of the lower mass stars is mostly characterized by timescales of weeks while the variability of the higher mass stars is mostly characterized by timescales of days. A study of the distribution of the variability as a function of galactic latitude suggests that sources closer to the galactic plane are more variable. This may be the result of sampling differing populations (i.e., ages) as a function of latitude or may be the result of higher background contamination that is inflating the variability fractions at lower latitudes. A comparison of the M dwarf statistics to the variability of 29 known bright M dwarfs indicates that the M dwarfs are primarily variable on timescales of weeks or longer presumably dominated by spots and binarity. On shorter timescales of hours, which are relevant for planetary transit detection, the stars are significantly less variable, with ~80% having 12 hr dispersions of 0.5 mmag or less.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Ciardi, David R.0000-0002-5741-3047
von Braun, Kaspar0000-0002-5823-4630
van Eyken, Julian0000-0003-2192-5371
Howell, Steve B.0000-0002-2532-2853
Kane, Stephen R.0000-0002-7084-0529
Plavchan, Peter0000-0002-8864-1667
Stauffer, John R.0000-0003-3595-7382
Additional Information:© 2011 American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 September 9; accepted 2011 January 17; published 2011 February 14. The authors acknowledge the referee for his or her extremely insightful and useful comments which made this a better paper. Portions of this work were performed at the California Institute of Technology under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Star and Exoplanet Database, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:stars: statistics; stars: variables: general
Issue or Number:4
Classification Code:PACS: 97.20.Jg; 97.10.Yp; 97.10.Wn; 97.30.-b; 97.20.Li; 97.10.ri
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110328-100710204
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Characterizing the Variability of Stars with Early-release Kepler Data David R. Ciardi et al. 2011 The Astronomical Journal 141 108
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:23125
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:29 Mar 2011 20:08
Last Modified:27 Nov 2019 00:38

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