The study of the → internal structure of stars through the interpretation of their pulsation periods (→ stellar pulsation). The radial pulsations are the result of → sound waves resonating in the stars interior. Different → pulsation modes penetrate to different depths inside a star. If a large number of pulsation modes occurs, then the stellar interior, which is not directly observable, can be probed from oscillation studies because the modes penetrate to various depths inside the star. Using a complex mathematical analysis, very detailed investigations of the structure of the star's interior can be carried out. Applied to the Sun, it is called → helioseismology.
The branch of astrophysics that investigates the interior structure of the Sun by studying its surface wave oscillations. See also → asteroseismology and → stellar pulsation. The surface of the Sun vibrates much like a bell. A piano has 88 keys or musical tones, whereas the Sun has millions of notes. These vibrations are the result of internal pressure waves that reflect off the → photosphere and repeatedly cross the solar interior. They are detected through the → Doppler shift of absorption lines formed in the photosphere. Because these vibrations make the solar surface move up and down, analysis of the surface patterns is used to study conditions far below the Sun's surface. The mean period of the vibrations is about five minutes, which corresponds to a speed of 0.5 km s-1 or a frequency of about 3 mHz. See also → p mode.
Combined study of the large-scale → magnetic field (→ magnetometry) and → stellar pulsations (→ asteroseismology). Magneto-asteroseismology provides strong complementary diagnostics suitable for detailed stellar modeling and permits the determination of the → internal structure and conditions within → magnetic massive → pulsators, for example the effect of magnetism on → mixing processes. More specifically, asteroseismology yields information on the → density, → composition, and → chemical mixing in multiple internal layers (depending on the number of studied frequencies). Additionally, when rotationally split pulsation modes are observed, the internal rotation profile can be retrieved. From magnetometry surface properties are determined, related to the → chemical composition, including → starspots, and the magnetic field, such as its geometry, obliquity, and strength. Magnetic studies also provide constraints about the → stellar wind geometry and the → circumstellar environment. Moreover, the stellar → rotation period period and the → angle of inclination toward the observer are also retrieved (Buysschaert et al., 2017, astro-ph/1709.02619).
Fr.: sismologie, séismologie
The branch of geophysics that is concerned with the study of earthquakes and measurement of the mechanical properties of the Earth.