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Hear 13 Billion Year Old Stars Sing, Starry Music Helps Discover Star’s Origin

First Posted: Jun 09, 2016 04:40 AM EDT
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Asteroseismologists from the University of Birmingham (BHAM) have recorded the sounds of some of Milky Way's oldest stars, according to a paper published in the journal Royal Astronomical Society's Monthly Notices. The sound of the stars will reportedly help to understand the age, mass and early history of stars in our galaxy.

The researching team, from Birmingham University's School of Physics and Astronomy, revealed the discovery of "resonant acoustic oscillations" in M4, which is one of the oldest known star clusters in the Milky Way whose origin is dated back to 13 billion years. The researchers studied the stars' resonant oscillations through a procedure called asteroseismology with the help of data gathered by the Kepler/K2 mission by NASA.

The oscillations, which are caused by convective movements that result in noise on a star's outside, lead to minute changes in brightness and pulses due to the entrapment of sound inside the stars. The astrophysicists have suggested that the age and mass of individual stars can be estimated by measuring the tones of the stellar music. The Daily Mail, has given a good example to illustrate the point, "Just like an organ pipe, an oscillation's frequency depends on the size of the cavity and the speed of sound of the gas inside it".

The scientists have further added that asteroseismology can help in accurate and precise age calculation of the oldest stars in the Milky Way, in a technique similar to what archaeologists use to reveal history by excavating the earth. All this while, scientists usually relied upon relatively new young stars to calculate the age of a star.

"We were thrilled to be able to listen to some of the stellar relics of the early universe," said Dr Andrea Miglio, lead researcher. "The stars we have studied really are living fossils from the time of the formation of our Galaxy, and we now hope be able to unlock the secrets of how spiral galaxies, like our own, formed and evolved".

Listen to the sound of the stars through the interactive image on this page. The sound of the stars' music is eerie and relaxing at the same time, quite befitting the celestial world. You can also hear it in the video below. 

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