Shooting for the Stars

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Science  08 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6026, pp. 180-181
DOI: 10.1126/science.1203887

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The primary objective of the Kepler mission is the discovery of Earth-like planets that are transiting their central stars. Its exquisite photometric precision also makes it the ideal instrument for measuring low-amplitude brightness variations in a broad range of stars. In a great many cases, these stellar variations represent modes of oscillation of the star, and their study can yield information on its interior structure. On page 213 of this issue, Chaplin et al. (1) make use of recent Kepler observations to examine the ensemble properties of more than 500 “Sun-like” stars. On page 205, Beck et al. (2) describe results for a red giant star. Finally, on page 216, Derekas et al. (3) present data on an exotic triple-star system with multiple eclipse components. Taken in combination, these latest results illustrate the power of the Kepler space telescope to probe the internal structure of distant stars.