The Kepler mission provides an exciting opportunity to study the light curves of stars with unprecedented precision and continuity of coverage. This is the first look at a large sample of stars with photometric data of a quality that has heretofore been only available for our Sun. It provides the first opportunity to compare the irradiance variations of our Sun to a large cohort of stars ranging from very similar to rather different stellar properties, at a wide variety of ages. Although Kepler data are in an early phase of maturity, and we only analyze the first month of coverage, it is sufficient to garner the first meaningful measurements of our Sun's variability in the context of a large cohort of main-sequence stars in the solar neighborhood. We find that nearly half of the full sample is more active than the active Sun, although most of them are not more than twice as active. The active fraction is closer to a third for the stars most similar to the Sun, and rises to well more than half for stars cooler than mid-K spectral types.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science