Astrophysicists from the Royal Astronomical Society studied the M4 cluster recordings and re-created sounds for the oldest known stars in our Milky Way galaxy.
The stars that caught the interest of scientists are located in the M4 cluster, which is situated far away from Earth and it’s also one of the oldest in our galaxy. The group of stars is supposed to have no less than 13 billion years so that experts called them fossils of the universe.
Researchers captured the acoustic oscillations in order to find out more about the history of our Universe. Their intention is to find data on our galaxy formation and to develop models on how the spiral galaxies evolve over time.
Until now, the focus was only on relatively young stars. Having information on such an old cluster can help scientists make new models of our galaxy formation.
The M4 Cluster
The M4 star cluster is a part of the Scorpius constellation, and it was first discovered in 1746. It is one of the easiest star clusters to find with a wide field telescope, being located near the bright star Antares.
In 1995, photographs taken by Hubble Space Telescope showed that the cluster’s white dwarfs are among the oldest stars in our Milky Way Galaxy.
In this recent study, the UK team has also estimated the mass for eight stars in the M4 cluster by using combinations of seismic and non-seismic signals. Their intention is further to investigate the properties of the red-giant stars in the cluster.
Sounds cannot travel through space. Thus, even if we can see the stars’ light coming from the Universe, we cannot hear the sounds created by them.
Scientists believe that the sound waves created by the stars lead to small pulses in the star’s brightness. This method is called asteroseismology.
The natural frequencies of the light oscillations in stars are very low, and the human ear cannot hear them. Scientists have them sped up the frequencies so as to create music out of the light fluctuations.
The Kepler Observatory
The sound recordings came from Kepler space observatory that was launched in 2009.
Kepler is now on an extended mission, after the reaction wheel issues in 2012 and 2013 prevented it from discovering planets through transit methods. This second task involves collecting data from supernova expositions, star formations, asteroids, and comets.
Kepler has already made asteroseismology studies of more than a thousand stars.
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