EDP Sciences
The CoRoT space mission: early results
Free access
Volume 506, Number 1, October IV 2009
The CoRoT space mission: early results
Page(s) 535 - 568
Section Catalogs and data
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912009
Published online 27 May 2009
A&A 506, 535-568 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200912009

Comparative clustering analysis of variable stars in the Hipparcos, OGLE Large Magellanic Cloud, and CoRoT exoplanet databases

L. M. Sarro1, 2, J. Debosscher3, C. Aerts3, 4, and M. López2

1  Dpt. de Inteligencia Artificial, UNED, Juan del Rosal 16, 28040 Madrid, Spain
    e-mail: lsb@dia.uned.es
2  Spanish VO – LAEX-CAB (INTA-CSIC), Postal address. – LAEFF, European Space Astronomy Center (ESAC), PO Box 78, 28691 Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain
3  Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200B, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
4  Department of Astrophysics, IMAPP, Radboud University Nijmegen, PO Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Received 9 March 2009 / Accepted 18 May 2009

Context. Discovery of new variability classes in large surveys using multivariate statistics techniques such as clustering, relies heavily on the correct understanding of the distribution of known classes as point processes in parameter space.
Aims. Our objective is to analyze the correspondence between the classical stellar variability types and the clusters found in the distribution of light curve parameters and colour indices of stars in the CoRoT exoplanet sample. The final aim is to help in the identification on new types of variability by first identifying the well known variables in the CoRoT sample.
Methods. We apply unsupervised classification algorithms to identify clusters of variable stars from modes of the probability density distribution. We use reference variability databases (Hipparcos and OGLE) as a framework to calibrate the clustering methodology. Furthermore, we use the results from supervised classification methods to interpret the resulting clusters.
Results. We interpret the clusters in the Hipparcos and OGLE LMC databases in terms of large-amplitude radial pulsators in the classical instability strip and of various types of eclipsing binaries. The Hipparcos data also provide clear distributions for low-amplitude nonradial pulsators. We show that the preselection of targets for the CoRoT exoplanet programme results in a completely different probability density landscape than the OGLE data, the interpretation of which involves mainly classes of low-amplitude variability in main-sequence stars. Our findings will be incorporated to improve the supervised classification used in the CoRoT catalogue production, once the existence of new classes or subtypes will be confirmed from complementary spectroscopic observations.

Key words: methods: statistical -- methods: data analysis -- stars: binaries: eclipsing -- stars: variables: general -- stars: statistics -- techniques: photometric

© ESO 2009