Blue supergiant stars open doors to concert in spaceChristian Fernsby ▼ |
World Blue supergiants
Blue supergiants are rock-and-roll: they live fast and die young.
Using recent NASA space telescope data, an international team led by KU Leuven studied the sounds originating inside these stars and discovered that almost all blue supergiants shimmer in brightness because of waves on their surface.
Since the dawn of humanity, the stars in the night sky have captured our imagination.
We even sing nursery rhymes to children pondering the nature of stars: "Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are".
Telescopes are able to probe far into the universe, but astronomers have struggled to 'see' inside the stars.
New space telescopes allow astronomers to 'see' the waves that originate in the deep interior of the stars.
This makes it possible to study these stars using asteroseismology, a similar technique to how seismologists use earthquakes to study the Earth's interior.
Stars come in different shapes, sizes and colours.
Some stars are similar to our Sun and live calmly for billions of years.
More massive stars, those born with ten times or more the mass of the Sun, live significantly shorter and active lives before they explode and expel their material into space in what is called a supernova.
Blue supergiants belong to this group.
Before they explode, they are the metal factories of the universe, as these stars produce most chemical elements beyond helium in the Periodic Table of Mendeleev.
For the first time, researchers have been able to 'see' beneath the opaque surface of blue supergiants. ■
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