Good Vibrations and Stellar Pulsations

Dr. Brad Carroll
Chair, Department of Physics
Weber State University

For five hundred years pulsating stars have played a central role in astronomy. Their rhythmic brightening gives astronomers a standard candle they can use to measure distances in the universe. Understanding the physical mechanism of these celestial heat engines allows a detailed comparison of numerical models with exquisite observations. Helioseismology has determined the structure of the Sun to better than one percent, and asteroseismology seeks to understand other stars. After a review of the history and theory of stellar pulsation, some recent results will be described.