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Probing the interior physics of stars through asteroseismology
Reviews of Modern Physics  (IF50.485),  Pub Date : 2021-01-21, DOI: 10.1103/revmodphys.93.015001
C. Aerts

Yearslong time series of high-precision brightness measurements have been assembled for thousands of years with telescopes operating in space. Such data have allowed astronomers to measure the physics of stellar interiors via nonradial oscillations, opening a new avenue to study the stars in the Universe. Asteroseismology, the interpretation of the characteristics of oscillation modes in terms of the physical properties of the stellar interior, brought entirely new insights in how stars rotate and how they build up their chemistry throughout their evolution. Data-driven space asteroseismology has delivered a drastic increase in the reliability of computer models mimicking the evolution of stars born with a variety of masses and metallicities. Such models are critical ingredients for modern physics as a whole because they are used throughout various contemporary and multidisciplinary research fields in space science, including the search for life outside the Solar System, archaeological studies of the Milky Way, and the study of single and binary supernova progenitors, among which are future gravitational wave sources. The specific role and potential of asteroseismology for those modern research fields are illustrated. The review concludes with current limitations of asteroseismology and highlights how they can be overcome with ongoing and future large infrastructures for survey astronomy combined with new theoretical research in the era of high-performance computing. This review presents results obtained through major community efforts over the past decade. These breakthroughs were achieved in a collaborative and inclusive spirit that is characteristic of the asteroseismology community. The review’s aim is to make this research field accessible to graduate students and readers coming from other fields of physics, with incentives to enjoy and join future applications in this domain of astrophysics.