ASTROPHYSICS WITH KEPLER

Martin Still

Kepler Guest Observer Director/Deputy Science Office Director, NASA Ames Research Center

The Kepler spacecraft was designed specifically to survey 105 stars near-continuously for the transits of habitable zone-dwelling terrestrial planets. Operational experience indicates that our pre-launch goal of measuring the number of potentially-habitable planets in the Galaxy is achievable. Incidentally, the mission specifications of a single wide field of view, precision photometry, regular cadence and multi-year baseline have also provided a unique and valuable resource for stellar astrophysics. With onboard consumables available for a 10 year mission and community resources accumulating, Kepler promises to continue invigorating stellar astrophysics with a large sample of high quality data obtained over a continuous baseline approaching the 11-year solar activity cycle. The Kepler-using community will tackle fundamental questions - What are the physical conditions internal and external to stars in our galactic neighborhood? How do those physical conditions drive stellar behavior? How old are the stars in our neighborhood? How does stellar behavior and age impact exoplanet physics and the development of ecosystems? Is the sun a typical or atypical star? What impact does this have for solar system physics and life on Earth? In this talk I will review the progress made so far through community-driven research using the 'tools' of asteroseismology, magnetic activity, gyrochronology and binary stars.