New research deepens dramatically our knowledge of the life cycle of the stars in
our universe. Enabled by the Kepler spacecraft, scientists are examining the
most accurate measurements of stars ever made.
Exploring distant stars has taken on a new life thanks to a wealth of data from
NASA's Kepler spacecraft. In results to be published this month, scientists have
characterized hundreds of st
ars targeted by Kepler, us
ing the natural pulse of
their light waves to provide amazing new insights into the structure and
evolution of stars.
These variations in brightness can be in
terpreted as vibrations, or oscillations
within the stars, using a technique ca
lled asteroseismology. The oscillations
reveal information about the internal structure of the stars, in much the same
way that seismologists use earthquakes to probe the Earth's interior.
NASA's Kepler spacecraft, launched in March 2009, is designed to discover
Earth-like planets orbiting other stars.
In the process it is capturing large
quantities of data on the target stars. which is used not only to search for
planets but also to study stars in gen
eral. The results from NASA’s Kepler
spacecraft provide us with new informat
ion on a number of specific phenomena
related to our fundamental knowledge of
stars, their internal properties and
evolution in time.
Katrien Kolenberg was one of the speakers at the NASA KASC press conference, held in Aarhus, Denmark, on October 26, 2010.