Sounding stars using data from NASA's Kepler and TESS missions

Project ID: 127

Supervisor(s): Dennis Stello

NASA's Kepler mission has provided a legacy data set for the study of stars and their planets. Kepler's high precision measurements reveals stellar brightness variations caused by oscillations of standing sound waves inside the stars.  Just like the sound of a violin and a bass are different due to their different size, the Stellar Oscillations Group led by Dennis Stello uses observed frequencies of stellar oscillations to determine the sizes and masses of stars and what they are made of. Using this technique -- called asteroseismology -- is currently revolutionizing stellar astrophysics.

For a brief overview on asteroseismology and the work by the Stellar Oscillations Group see:

Projects currently up for grabs involve data analysis of Kepler, K2, and TESS data to measure stellar oscillations in thousands of stars. In addition to Kepler, NASA's K2 and TESS missions are, and will be, providing more big data sets at a high pace. This involves creating new artificial intelligence-based algorithms to analyse the large data sets we constantly receive from NASA. The observed stars cover large parts of the Milky Way enabling us to probe the structure and evolution of our Galaxy, known as Galactic Archaeology, a hot topic in astrophysics. Some of the stars are in 'open clusters' for which applying asteroseismology has only just become possible. Cluster stars are born together from a big cloud of gas, and therefore share a common age and composition, which greatly enhances our potential to test contemporary stellar evolution theory.  Applying asteroseismology to these stars, brings this potential to a new level. For this work, we also use state-of-the-art stellar evolution modeling to directly compare theory with data, and to search for new ways of probing the interior structure of stars.

Below: The Kepler Field of View (image credit: NASA, Kepler Team)