January 02, 2016

"The pull of gravity on a distant star can now be measured more accurately, shedding light on other worlds, say astronomers."

BBC: "Our technique can tell you how big and bright is the star, and if a planet around it is the right size and temperature to have water oceans, and maybe life," said Prof Jaymie Matthews. by Helen Briggs

'Surface gravity is the intensity of the force that pulls everything on the surface of a star or celestial body towards the centre. It is usually calculated by measuring a star's light or brightness - but this only works well for the closest, brightest stars.

'A team led by Thomas Kallinger of the University of Vienna used data from the Kepler space telescope - which is searching for other worlds like the Earth - to show that variations in the brightness of distant stars can give more accurate measurements of surface gravity.

'The timescale of turbulence and vibration at a star's surface, based on its brightness variations, tells you its surface gravity, say the researchers.'

Kallinger et al paper here

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