CfA Colloquium Schedule Fall 2008
 9 October 2008

9 October 2008

Speaker: Donald W. Kurtz (University of Central Lancashire)

Title: Asteroseismology

Abstract: In 1926 in the opening paragraph of his now-classic book, The Internal Constitution of the Stars, Sir Arthur Eddington lamented, "What appliance can pierce through the outer layers of a star and test the conditions within?" While he considered theory to be the proper answer to that question, there is now an observational answer: asteroseismology. We are now able to see the internal rotation of the sun half way down to its core; we can probe the crystallised diamond core of a pulsating white dwarf star; we can resolve the three-dimensional pulsation and atmospheric structure of the most peculiar stars in the sky; we can detect differential rotation between the core and atmosphere of a B star; we can examine tidal influence in pulsating, eclipsing close binary stars; we can precisely measure masses of both the entire star and H and He atmospheric layers in white dwarf stars; we can even see pulsation and detect planets in the same star with exquisitely precise observations -- observations comparable to those for the sun only two decades ago. Asteroseismology is closely related to planet-finding in the high precision demands of the observational techniques used for both. The NASA Kepler Mission will be launched in February 2009 to search for Earth-sized planets, and - as a secondary mission - to carry out asteroseismic observations in support of the planet hunting. This talk will introduce the concepts of asteroseismology and show a selection of exciting observational results, as well as discuss the unprecedented astrophysical opportunities anticipated from the Kepler data.

Video of the Presentation (Talks can be viewed with RealPlayer. Free download is available from )


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