NASA Finds Singing Stars

Telescope spots sound waves traveling through space
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2010 10:23 AM CDT
NASA Finds Singing Stars
This image taken by the Kepler telescope shows an expansive, 100-square-degree patch of sky in our Milky Way galaxy where it hopes to find Earth-like planets.   (AP Photo/NASA/JPL CALTECH)

NASA has discovered a group of massive red stars that are actually humming to themselves. The planet-hunting Kepler space telescope recently spotted sound waves emanating from the stars, the Wall Street Journal reports. NASA recorded the tune, and played it recently at a press conference in Denmark. “It is a giant red concert,” says the astronomer who made the recording. “They have many different frequencies and overtones.”

The sound waves can help astronomers determine the size, density, age, and structure of the stars, in much the same way seismic waves reveal details about Earth’s interior. “To measure the size of the star, we essentially measure the tone of these musical notes,” says one astronomer. “The sound waves travel down into the star and bring information back up to the surface of the star that Kepler can see as flickering.” (More NASA stories.)

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