Scientists stumble upon sun-like massive star

 Researchers at LESIA, a laboratory of the Paris observatory (France), and AGO, a laboratory of Lihge University (Belgium) studied the massive star — V1449 Aql (HD180642) — for more than 150 days and observed that it displays solar-like pulsations which have, so far, never been detected in any heavenly body.

The study, conducted by CoRoT space mission, launched on December 27, 2006, has been developed and operated by CNES, a French government space agency, with contribution from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, ESA (RSSD and Science Programme), Germany and Spain.

High precision

“The unprecedented high-precision photometric data gathered for this star by the CoRoT mission allows us to report the first detection of solar-like oscillations in a massive star, V1449 Aql,” said Belkacem Kevin, Department of Astrophysics, AGO, in an email interview. The sun oscillates (fluctuations in its diameter) at a period of around five minutes and these motions represent the superposition of millions of independent modes, resonating below its surface at extremely precise periods.

“They afford enormous diagnostic potential for the (otherwise invisible) internal structure and dynamics of this conveniently close star,” Kevin said.

The study of oscillations can lead to better understanding of stars’ interiors as well as help physicists learn the reasons behind the cause for the fluctuations taking place in the sun.

“The mass, age and internal structure of the star itself can be quite well constrained with a seismic study based on information stemmed from those oscillations,” Belkacem Kevin said.

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