Now you can listen to 13 billion year-old stars

Now you can listen to 13 billi...
Shot of the M4 globular cluster captured  in May 2000
Shot of the M4 globular cluster captured  in May 2000
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Shot of the M4 globular cluster captured  in May 2000
Shot of the M4 globular cluster captured  in May 2000

A team ofastrophysicists from the University of Birmingham has successfullyused Kepler data to capture the sounds emitted by ancientstars. The study focused on eight red giant stars,the smallest of which is many times the mass of our Sun, and almostthree times its current age.

The study drew onKepler observations of stars in the M5 globular cluster. Located roughly 7,200light-years away in the constellation Scorpius, M5 is thought to bearound 13 billion years old, making it one of the most ancient star clusters in the Milky Way.

The team from theUniversity of Birmingham used a technique known as astroseismology toobserve resonant oscillations inthe stars that are thought to be responsible for brief pulses ofbrightness, created as sound trapped inside the star interactswith its interior. The astronomers were able to listen to the notesof a stellar chorus created by the oscillations, and estimate the age and mass of the sample stars.

"We were thrilledto be able to listen to some of the stellar relics of the earlyuniverse," states Dr Andrea Miglio of the University ofBirmingham's School of Physics and Astronomy. "The stars we havestudied really are living fossils from the time of the formation ofour Galaxy, and we now hope be able to unlock the secrets of howspiral galaxies, like our own, formed and evolved."

The sounds created by theoscillations in the red giants can be listened to on the universitywebsite (see link below). The smallestof the stars, which would still dwarf our own Sun, emits a relativelyhigh note, while the most massive of the eight sample stars lets offa much deeper pitch.

Apaper on the research has been accepted for publication in theMonthly Notices of the Astrophysical Journal.

Source:University of Birmingham

1 comment
Bob Flint
Resonance oscillation in a vacuum??