Taking the Pulse of a Massive Star

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Science  20 Jun 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5627, pp. 1885-1886
DOI: 10.1126/science.1086421

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Astronomers have long used the internal vibrations of low-mass stars (including the Sun) to probe their internal structure. Application of this technique--called asteroseismology--to more massive stars requires very long periods of observation. Based on 21 years of data, Aerts et al. have now probed the pulsations of a star nearly 10 times as massive as the Sun, extending asteroseismic probes to the realm of massive stars. In his Perspective, Kawaler explains that knowledge of the internal structure of such stars should advance understanding of the chemical evolution of galaxies and the explosion of supernovae.