Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
Asteroseismologists from Birmingham have used tiny vibrations caused by sound trapped inside a star to accurately measure its size and the three planets discovered orbiting it.
The star, named Kepler-37 after the NASA Kepler spacecraft that detected
it, is 80% the size and mass of our sun, while one of its planets is smaller than Mercury.
Professor of Astrophysics, Bill Chaplin (BSc Physics with Astrophysics, 1990; PhD Physics, 1994; PG Cert, 2001) says: ‘This research reveals that other stellar systems host planets smaller than anything in our solar system, helping us put our system into a wider context.’
Professor Chaplin will be reprising his Birmingham Heroes Lecture: Music of the Stars on campus in the autumn. Visit the online Alumni Events Calendar for more information.