‘Starquakes’ discovered by NASA spacecraft to revolutionize stellar study

October 27th, 2010 - 5:01 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Oct 27 (ANI): NASA’s Keplar spacecraft has discovered stellar oscillations, or ’starquakes,’ that could provide new insights about the size, age and evolution of stars.

Analysis of stellar oscillations is similar to how seismologists study earthquakes to probe the Earth’s interior. This branch of science, called asteroseismology, produces measurements of stars.

“Using the unparalleled data provided by Kepler, KASC scientists are quite literally revolutionizing our understanding of stars and their structures,” said Douglas Hudgins, Kepler Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

One oscillating star took center stage: KIC 11026764 has the most accurately known properties of any star in the Kepler field - at the age of 5.94 billion years, it has grown to a little over twice the diameter of the Sun and will continue to do so as it transforms into a red giant.

KASC scientists also reported on the star RR Lyrae. It has been studied for more than 100 years as the first member of an important class of stars used to measure cosmological distances. The brightness, or light wave amplitude, of the star oscillates within a well-known period of about 13.5 hours.

And thanks to Kepler data, scientists may have a clue as to its origin.

“Kepler data ultimately will give us a better understanding of the future of our Sun and the evolution of our galaxy as a whole,” said Daniel Huber, lead author on one of the KASC studies. (ANI)

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