Astronomers detect echoes from the depth of a red giant star
Today an international team of astronomers reports the discovery of waves inside a star that travel so deep that they reach the core. The discovery … was possible thanks to precise measurements with the Kepler space telescope.
… Just like a doctor listens to the sound of your heart to make a diagnosis, or like seismologists use earthquakes on Earth to probe the inside of our planet, … asteroseismology studies stellar oscillations to draw a detailed picture of stellar interiors.
…At the star's surface the oscillations manifest themselves as patches where the temperature changes … this causes tiny variations in the brightness the star, and after the light traveled for hundreds of years through empty space these changes are now carefully recorded by NASA's space telescope Kepler.
The team that made the discovery is part of KASC, the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium, ...consisting of more than 440 astronomers specialized in probing stellar interiors. ...“Astronomers of all over the world are taking part in this huge effort to exploit Kepler data to better understand the interiors of stars”, says Hans Kjeldsen of Aarhus university, the coordinator of KASC. “The measurements provided by Kepler are so incredibly precise that we see things we never saw before. It's like traveling in a whole new world.”….
For full article in Science Express, see Kepler-Detected Gravity-Mode Period Spacings in a Red Giant Star
, by Paul G. Beck
et al, Science Express 2011 March 17 DOI: 10.1126/science.1201939
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