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Paper: The Kepler Mission: Terrestrial Extrasolar Planets and Stellar Activity
Volume: 384, 14th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems, and the Sun
Page: 281
Authors: Basri, G.; Ramos-Stierle, F.; Soto, K.; Lewis, T.; Reiners, A.; Borucki, W.; Koch, D.
Abstract: Kepler is a NASA mission designed to determine the frequency and distribution of Earth-sized planets within 1 AU of F-M main sequence stars. This is done by searching for planetary transits. The mission will return up to 150,000 broad-band light curves with unprecedented precision (20 micromag) and 30 minute resolution continuously for several years. Along with a program to determine precise stellar parameters, the size and orbital distance of the planets can be estimated, as well as the relations between planets and the stars they orbit. Hundreds of terrestrial planets should be discovered if they are common. A null result would strongly imply that terrestrial planets are rare.

The Kepler dataset is also a treasure-trove of information on stellar activity and rotation. We have begun a research program to understand and simulate stellar microvariability. We first study the Sun as a microvariable star (cf. Soto et al., this conference). Having derived laws which connect continuum variability with magnetic configurations, we explore photometry of simulated stars. This will lead to improved methods of finding rotation periods, understanding the change due to inclination (can we actually derive inclination?), mapping of magnetic distributions, and sizes and time-scales for active regions and starspots. Guest Investigators can propose targets that are not part of the exoplanet search during the mission. Kepler can greatly aid our understanding of the behavior of stellar activity as a function of stellar mass and age.

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