We provide an overview of stellar variability in the first quarter data from the Kepler mission. The intent of this paper is to examine the entire sample of over 150,000 target stars for periodic behavior in their light curves and relate this to stellar characteristics. This data set constitutes an unprecedented study of stellar variability given its great precision and complete time coverage (with a half hour cadence). Because the full Kepler pipeline is not currently suitable for a study of stellar variability of this sort, we describe our procedures for treating the "raw" pipeline data. About half of the total sample exhibits convincing periodic variability up to two weeks, with amplitudes ranging from differential intensity changes of less than 10-4 up to more than 10%. K and M dwarfs have a greater fraction of period behavior than G dwarfs. The giants in the sample have distinctive quasi-periodic behavior, but are not periodic in the way we define it. Not all periodicities are due to rotation, and the most significant period is not necessarily the rotation period. We discuss properties of the light curves, and in particular look at a sample of very clearly periodic G dwarfs. It is clear that a large number of them do vary because of rotation and starspots, but it will take further analysis to fully exploit this.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science