Gaia space telescope detects seismic activity in thousands of stars

Analyzing new data from the space telescope, the researchers found on thousands of stars

"starquakes" are tiny movements on the surface that change their shape.

Astrophysicists note that previously Gaia foundradial oscillations that cause stars to periodically swell and contract while maintaining their spherical shape. In the telescope's new observations, scientists have detected another activity that looks most like a large-scale tsunami. It is noted that such fluctuations change the shape of the star, and therefore they are more difficult to detect.

The space telescope has detected strongnon-radial "starquakes" in thousands of stars. Such oscillations cause the surface of the star to move during rotation. The ESA report notes that such vibrations for a number of stars contradict modern theories and require new explanations.

Non-radial vibrations cause the surfacethe stars move while rotating as shown in the animation. Dark spots are slightly cooler than bright spots, resulting in periodic variations in the brightness of the star. In the animation, the frequency of the rotating and pulsing stars has been increased by 8.6 million times to move them into the human audible range.

"Starquakes" tell a lot about the stars,especially about their inner workings. Gaia opens up a goldmine for the astroseismology of massive stars,” says KU Leuven researcher Connie Aerts, a member of the Gaia collaboration.

The Gaia space telescope is designed toobservation of the stars in the Milky Way. The telescope was launched in 2013 and has already compiled the most comprehensive catalog of our galaxy, which includes detailed data for almost 2 billion stars and other objects.

Cover image: Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Milky Way: ESA/Gaia/DPAC; CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

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