NASA is using the Lingsun Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to study the mysterious pulsation of a star named Delta Scuti,media reported. Astronomers have used TESS to detect the pulsation patterns of dozens of young, fast-rotating stars. Astronomers believe the discovery could help revolutionise their ability to study the details of the age, size and composition of stars. These stars are named after the first of their kind found– Delta Scuti.
The way Delta Scuti stars vibrate is interesting, and their patterns have challenged scientists’ understanding. Tim Bedding, professor of astronomy at the University of Sydney, said: “Using music as a metaphor, many stars are beating along simple chords, but Delta Scuti stars are complex and their notes seem cluttered. TESS has told us that not all of this is the case. “
Scientists are using techniques used by geologists to understand the earth’s internal results during studying seismic waves. They applied the same principle to the interior of the star, studying the pulsations of the star in an area called astrology. Sound waves can pass through the star’s interior at a rate that changes with depth. On the surface of a star, waves are combined with pulsation patterns.
Astronomers can detect these patterns to understand the tiny fluctuations in brightness and use them to determine the age, temperature, composition, internal structure, and other properties of stars. Delta Scuti stars are 1.5 to 2.5 times larger than the sun, and their eponymous star is located in the southern constellation of Scutum and visible to the naked eye.
Often, it is difficult for scientists to explain the pulsation of a star. Stars rotate once or twice a day, at least ten times faster than the sun. TESS can monitor large tracts of space for 27 days, taking photos with four cameras every 30 minutes. However, because the exposure is too slow to capture pulses every 30 minutes, TESS also takes Delta Scuti images every two minutes to capture the changes. Using these images, the scientists discovered a subset of Delta Scuti, which has a regular pulsation pattern.
After the researchers knew what to look for, they looked for other examples in the Kepler data, and they finally identified 60 Delta Scuti stars with clear patterns. The breakthrough allowed scientists to understand the star and compare it to models that they had never been able to do before.