Variability Catalog of Stars Observed during the TESS Prime Mission

Tara Fetherolf, Joshua Pepper, Emilie Simpson, Stephen R. Kane, Teo Močnik, John Edward English, Victoria Antoci, Daniel Huber, Jon M. Jenkins, Keivan Stassun, Joseph D. Twicken, Roland Vanderspek, Joshua N. Winn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


During its 2 yr Prime Mission, TESS observed over 232,000 stars at a 2 minute cadence across ∼70% of the sky. These data provide a record of photometric variability across a range of astrophysically interesting timescales, probing stellar rotation, stellar binarity, and pulsations. We have analyzed the TESS 2 minute light curves to identify periodic variability on timescales of 0.01-13 days, and explored the results across various stellar properties. We have identified over 46,000 periodic variables with high confidence, and another 38,000 with moderate confidence. These light curves show differences in variability type across the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, with distinct groupings of rotational, eclipsing, and pulsational variables. We also see interesting patterns across period-luminosity space, with clear correlations between period and luminosity for high-mass pulsators, evolved stars, and contact binary systems, a discontinuity corresponding to the Kraft break, and a lower occurrence of periodic variability in main-sequence stars on timescales of 1.5-2 days. The variable stars identified in this work are cross-identified with several other variability catalogs, from which we find good agreement between the measured periods of variability. There are ∼65,000 variable stars that are newly identified in this work, which includes the rotation rates of low-mass stars, high-frequency pulsation periods for high-mass stars, and a variety of giant star variability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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