Image of Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter's tea party You are cordially invited to afternoon tea and biscuits wine and chocolate

Astronomy Tea Talks at Caltech

Mondays, Hameetman auditorium (Cahill)
Tea:  4.00pm
Talk: 4.15pm

Organized by:

2010 - 2011 season:
14 March 2011 Lucianne Walkowicz

'Stellar Activity with Kepler: Understanding the Lighting on the Stage of Habitability'

Stellar magnetic activity leads to observable effects on a range of timescales, from starspots that modulate the stellar brightness on the order of weeks, to flares, which release highly energetic radiation over the course of a few hours. Much of our understanding of these phenomena comes from observations of the Sun, where surface spatial resolution and high time cadence afford us rich detail unavailable for other stars. The high precision photometry afforded by the Kepler telescope, now in its second year of operation, provides a view on stellar astrophysics that has never before been available. Because of the intimate link between stellar rotation and the generation of the magnetic field, periodic brightness variations due to starspots may be used both to gain insight into the magnetic dynamo. In addition, an understanding of the stellar radiation environment provides context for studies of potential attendant planets. Finally, as the primary goal of the mission is the detection of planets themselves, these stellar observations are not only interesting in a purely astrophysical sense, but also as a rich source of metadata on how the intrinsic photometric behavior of stars affects our ability to detect planets. I will discuss our ongoing work with Kepler to characterize stellar variability due to spots, flares and stellar rotation.
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Image of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland
Last modified on 20th Jul 2011 by Dominik A. Riechers.  

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