In her excellent front-page feature story today, the Arizona Daily Sun’s Cyndy Cole covers participation by Ted Dunham, Lowell Observatory Instrument Scientist, in the NASA Kepler mission’s exciting first results. Distant planets mount describes the NASA announcement of five new exoplanets for one of which Dr. Dunham is the lead author on a new paper, A Transiting Hot Jupiter Orbiting a Metal-Rich Star.
The Daily Sun article also mentions asteroseismology results generated by Kepler’s sensitive detector.
At the same time, the telescope attempts to detect asteroseismology in a star — the study of its internal structure and pulsations, similar to seismology on Earth. This is a useful tool in attempting to separate the flicker of a star’s light caused by an orbiting star or planet from the star’s own pulsating activity.
“The stellar oscillations are turning out to be awesome — it has the potential to really revolutionize our understanding of stellar interiors,” said Dunham, in a separate interview.
image: artist’s conception of the large planet TrES-4 discovered in 2007 by a team that included Lowell Observatory’s Ted Dunham and Georgi Mandushev. artwork by Jeffrey Hall, Lowell Observatory