Star-Quakes Reveal Content Of Stars Which Are Hotter And More Massive Than The Sun
The propagation of sound waves inside stars produces oscillations on their surface. The analysis of these oscillations makes it possible to know the internal structure and age of stars, and it has just turned out to be also effective in the detailed study of stars more massive than the sun.
To determine the mass and size of planets found around other stars or to date stellar populations in order to limit the number of cosmological models, among other things, it is essential know what goes on inside a star. The only gateway we have to that stellar interior is the study of stellar oscillations, or asteroseismology. Now, for the first time, a study led by researchers from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC) has shown the validity of this tool for the study of stars that are hotter and more massive than the sun.
“Thanks to asteroseismology we know precisely the internal structure, mass, radius, rotation and evolution of solar type stars, but we had never been able to apply this tool efficiently to the study of hotter and more massive stars,” says Juan Carlos Suárez, researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC).
In some sense, stellar seismology conceives of stars as resonating cavities where the movement of gas generates sound waves. Many of these sound waves tend to fade out, but if they find any mechanism to sustain them, they will reach an equilibrium on the surface of the star and deform it, producing different modes of oscillation (which can be observed as changes in temperature and glow).