Scientists Are Studying The Sound Of Starquakes To Figure Out How Stars Formed Billions Of Years Ago

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Mar 24, 2017
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Internal sound waves created by starquakes are currently under investigation. Starquakes are basically oscillations that are created by stars and help determine in which particular orientation the stars spin in. This will also help in understanding the conditions of the universe when the stars were formed billions of years ago. This is no doubt a very interesting area currently being studied by researchers.

Starquakes, Stars and Stello

According to Dennis Stello, researcher at UNSW in Australia, “Just as seismologists use earthquakes to understand the interior of our planet, we use starquakes to understand the interior of stars. Our new study provides the first evidence that this approach is a powerful way to gain insights into processes that occurred billions of years ago, close to the beginning of the universe.” You can listen to the subtle noises that the starquakes make below:

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Well, that was pretty subtle I know but researchers were able to gather substantial information using these sounds. For the study 48 red giants in two star clusters were observed. One cluster was formed over 2 billion years ago and the other one was formed around 8 billion years ago. Pretty ancient, right? It is extremely difficult to examine star nurseries that are just huge clouds of dust and gas that have collapsed to form clusters.

So now the researchers have resorted to another method of examining these clusters. Yeah you guessed right; listening to the clusters instead. According to Stello, “The benefit of studying ancient star clusters is that the interfering dust and gas has gone, yet the stars still preserve the signature of the initial conditions in the cloud where they were born.” Using NASA’s Keplar space observatory the team looked into the starquakes and determined that the spinning angle was aligned very strongly in 70% of the stars.

“The results were unexpected – we found that the spins of most of the stars were aligned with each other,” says Stello. “Previously it had been assumed that massive turbulence would have scrambled the rotational energy of the clouds where the stars were born, and prevented this alignment.” What does this mean for science? Well it gives the scientists another way to look into the conditions of the star nurseries and to discover what the universe looked like billions of years ago. Stello said, “It’s remarkable that the imprint of these initial conditions can still be seen billions of years later, by studying tiny oscillations in stars that are many light years away.”

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