Stellar Variability Observed with Kepler

Kepler Science Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Kepler photometer was launched in March 2009 initiating NASA's search for Earth-size planets orbiting in the habitable zone of their star. After three years of science operations, Kepler has proven to be a veritable cornucopia of science results, both for exoplanets and for astrophysics. The phenomenal photometric precision and continuous observations required in order to identify small, rocky transiting planets enables the study of a large range of phenomena contributing to stellar variability for many thousands of solar-like stars in Kepler's field of view in exquisite detail. These effects range from <1 ppm acoustic oscillations on timescales from a few minutes and longward, to flares on timescales of hours, to spot-induced modulation on timescales of days to weeks to activity cycles on timescales of months to years. Recent improvements to the science pipeline have greatly enhanced Kepler's ability to reject instrumental signatures while better preserving intrinsic stellar variability, opening up the timescales for study well beyond 10 days. We give an overview of the stellar variability we see across the full range of spectral types observed by Kepler, from the cool, small red M stars to the hot, large late A stars, both in terms of amplitude as well as timescale. We also present a picture of what the extended mission will likely bring to the field of stellar variability as we progress from a 3.5 year mission to a 7.5+ year mission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-116
Number of pages2
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue numberH16
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science


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