News FocusAstrophysics

For Whom the Stars Toll

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Science  31 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5573, pp. 1595-1596
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5573.1595

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Solar physicists have extracted huge amounts of data about the interior of the sun by studying vibrations of its surface, a field that has become known as helioseismology, and astronomers have detected similar vibrations in a few other stars. Earlier this month, a team reported for the first time the existence of vibrations in a giant star, 10 times the size of our sun. The new field of asteroseismology is taking off, and researchers hope it will provide a wealth of data on the size, density, temperature, age, structure, and chemical composition of stars.