Variations in the brightness of solar-type stars are driven by many factors including granulation, a consequence of heat convection below the photosphere. And as granulation is correlated with surface gravity, variations in brightness can be used as a measure of surface gravity. Fabienne Bastien et al. analyse archival data from NASA's Kepler mission and show that brightness fluctuations on timescales of less than 8 hours are correlated with the surface gravity in Sun-like stars in various evolutionary phases. Using straightforward measurements of this type it should be possible to determine the surface gravities of many of the stars observed by Kepler.
- Twinkling stars (News & Views p405, doi: 10.1038/500405a)
- An observational correlation between stellar brightness variations and surface gravity (Letter p427, doi: 10.1038/nature12419)
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