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Asteroseismology: A New Keplerian Revolution

Donald W. Kurtz
Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, University of Central Lancashire

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 in a time of a significant advance in our understanding of stellar astrophysics with data from the Kepler Mission. From its rich 4-year data set nearly 5000 exoplanet candidates have been discovered - the majority of all known. Kepler has also improved our ability to see pulsations and variability in stars by 100 to 1000 times compared with ground-based telescopes, allowing us to probe stars using asteroseismology. We are seeing as never before: heartbeat stars, novel eclipsing stars, spots, flares and magnetic cycles as in our own Sun. Astrophysics that used to be theoretical is now also observational: internal stellar rotation from core to surface; gravitational lensing in eclipsing binary stars; Doppler boosting; multiple pulsation axes; period doubling; tidal excitation in highly eccentric binary stars. Kepler data for solar-like stars are now comparable to data for the Sun seen as a star, giving us masses, radii and ages for hundreds of single stars, allowing determination of their orbiting planets’ sizes, and giving new constraints on stellar evolution theory. It is now even possible to see into the cores of red giants and observe which stars are hydrogen shell-burning and which also are helium-core burning. This talk will introduce the concepts of asteroseismology and show a selection of exciting observational results from the Kepler mission.

6 July 2016, 13:30

Centro de Astrofísica
Rua das Estrelas
4150-762 Porto

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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