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Kepler observations of the variability in B-type stars




The analysis of the light curves of 48 B-type stars observed by Kepler is presented. Among these are 15 pulsating stars, all of which show low frequencies, characteristic of slowly pulsating B (SPB) stars. Seven of these stars also show a few weak, isolated high frequencies and they could be considered as SPB/β Cephei (β Cep) hybrids. In all cases, the frequency spectra are quite different from what is seen from ground-based observations. We suggest that this is because most of the low frequencies are modes of high degree which are predicted to be unstable in models of mid-B stars. We find that there are non-pulsating stars within the β Cep and SPB instability strips. Apart from the pulsating stars, we can identify stars with frequency groupings similar to what is seen in Be stars but which are not Be stars. The origin of the groupings is not clear, but may be related to rotation. We find periodic variations in other stars which we attribute to proximity effects in binary systems or possibly rotational modulation. We find no evidence for pulsating stars between the cool edge of the SPB and the hot edge of the δ Sct instability strips. None of the stars shows the broad features which can be attributed to stochastically excited modes as recently proposed. Among our sample of B stars are two chemically peculiar stars, one of which is a HgMn star showing rotational modulation in the light curve.