We are entering a golden era for "stellar physics" – a term coined to describe research about the formation, evolution, interior and the atmospheres of stars. Thanks to a partnership forged among stellar astrophysics, scientists and NASA’s Kepler Mission, a goldmine of data is now available to support the world's efforts to detect planets in the habitable zone around other stars.
An artist's rendering that compares the approximate size and color of the stars in the triple-eclipsing system HD 181068. Image credit: NASA/KASC
The Kepler photometric data is a measurement of light’s “brightness,” and provides an unprecedented opportunity for the emerging field of asteroseismology, the study of the internal structure of stars by observing minuscule pulsations in the star brightness. Asteroseismic research is giving insights into the fundamental properties of stars, including their mass, size, age and internal structure. Kepler enables studies of a large number of stars representing a broad range of types. This asteroseismic research will substantially improve our understanding of stellar evolution. It also will help determine the properties of stars that have planetary systems studied in the Kepler exoplanet program.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 April 2011 19:34|
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