Institution(s): 1. UC Berkeley
I review what we have learned about the levels of variability and characteristics of precisely measured long-term light curves of solar-type stars compared with the Sun. Both in a general way, and along a number of specific metrics, the Sun is very much an “average” solar-type star. The general levels of variability on different timescales of the large sample of Kepler stars fit in the expected way with the set of behaviors that the Sun displays over a solar cycle. Although some have argued that the Sun is unusually photometrically quiet, the evidence does not support that. On the other hand, there are relatively few stars in the Kepler sample whose light curves over four years could be presented to solar experts as real solar data and actually fool them. I therefore also discuss the ways in which the Sun is not the same most of the Kepler stars, and which metrics highlight those differences. Finally I spend a little time talking about what we might further learn from the Kepler data on solar-type stars, and what tools will be needed to succeed in those projects.