A Protostar’s Age Gleaned Only From Sound Waves

by Shannon Hall July 5, 2014

Precisely dating a star can have important consequences for understanding stellar evolution and any circling exoplanets. But it’s one of the toughest plights in astronomy with only a few existing techniques. One method is to find a star with radioactive elements like uranium and thorium, whose half-lives are known and can be used to date […]

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Flicker… A Bright New Method of Measuring Stellar Surface Gravity

by Tammy Plotner August 22, 2013

A simple, yet elegant method of measuring the surface gravity of a star has just been discovered. These computations are important because they reveal stellar physical properties and evolutionary state – and that’s not all. The technique works equally well for estimating the size of hundreds of exoplanets. Developed by a team of astronomers and […]

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Smallest Exoplanet Yet Discovered by ‘Listening’ to a Sun-like Star

by Nancy Atkinson February 20, 2013

Scientists have discovered a new planet orbiting a Sun-like star, and the exoplanet is the smallest yet found in data from the Kepler mission. The planet, Kepler-37b, is smaller than Mercury, but slightly larger than Earth’s Moon. The planet’s discovery came from a collaboration between Kepler scientists and a consortium of international researchers who employ […]

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Five Awesome Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know Asteroseismology Could Do

by Jon Voisey August 22, 2011

Asteroseismology is a relatively new field in astronomy. This branch uses sound waves in stars to explore their nature in the same way seismologists on Earth have used waves induced by tectonic activity to probe the interior of our planet. These waves aren’t heard directly, but as they strike the surface they can cause it […]

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