#astrophysicists; #soundsofStars; #astroseismology; UnivofWisconsin; #stellarstructure; #astronomy
United States, Apr 29 (Canadian-Media): Sound may not be able to travel through the vacuum of space but that doesn't stop stars from unleashing a symphony of subsonic notes as their nuclear furnaces power complex vibrations, University of Wisconsin-Madison Astronomy Department study said.
Image credit: COO Public domain
Telescopes can spot these vibrations as fluctuations in the brightness or temperature on the surface of a star.
Understand these vibrations, and we can learn more about the inner structure of the star that is otherwise hidden from view.
"A cello sounds like a cello because of its size and shape," says Jacqueline Goldstein, a graduate student in the University of Wisconsin–Madison astronomy department. "The vibrations of stars also depend on their size and structure."
In her work, Goldstein studies the connection between stellar structure and vibrations by developing software that simulates diverse stars and their frequencies. As she compares her simulations to real stars, Goldstein can refine her model and improve how astrophysicists like her peer under the surface of stars by surveying their subtle sounds.
With frequencies repeating on the order of minutes to days, you'd have to speed up stellar vibrations by a thousand or a million times to bring them within the range of human hearing. These reverberations might most accurately be called starquakes after their seismic cousins on Earth. The field of study is called astroseismology.