Asteroseismology in the Space Age

Coordinators: Conny Aerts, Sarbani Basu, Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard, Steve Kawaler

Scientific Advisors: Bill Chaplin, Katrien Kolenberg, Marc Pinsonneault, Juri Toomre, Yanqin Wu

Space-based observations (by, in particular, CoRoT and Kepler) are extending the reach of asteroseismology to a broad range of stars.  However, the available observational precision in terms of frequencies and amplitudes is not being exploited because of a variety of uncertainties that go into model construction.  These range from interior constitutive physics to processes such as turbulence, differential rotation, and other 3-D effects, along with shortcomings of current nonlinear pulsation theory in describing mode coupling, excitation, and damping.

Many studies within modern astrophysics rely on stellar structure and evolution models; many important topics are directly affected by the outcome of stellar evolution theory that are only rarely tested directly. Current uncertainties in the input physics of stellar models have large consequences for the whole duration and end of the stellar life. Asteroseismology can, in principle, probe many of the important details in an entirely different way than traditional photometry and spectroscopy.

In this program, we plan to focus on some of the most urgent shortcomings in stellar evolution and pulsation theory and how they can be addressed in the era of new oscillation measurements.  We hope to bring together experts in stellar modeling, stellar internal physics and theoretical asteroseismology, with additional consultation with those involved in observational efforts in space and on the ground. We also look forward to the inclusion of those with expertise in the application of stellar (and planetary) models to other areas of physics and astronomy.  The outcome of the program should be a much-improved basis for utilizing the asteroseismic data and a substantial improvement in our understanding of stellar structure and evolution, strengthening the basis that this field provides for broad areas of astrophysics.

We will host an associated conference on October 24-28, 2011, entitled The Impact of Asteroseismology across Stellar Astrophysics.