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Asteroseismology: probing inside stars using stellar oscillations


Measuring oscillations in stars like the Sun using asteroseismology is a powerful new method for exploring their internal structures and testing physical theories.


Professor Tim Bedding.

Research location

School of Physics

Program type



Asteroseismology involves using the oscillation frequencies of a star to measure its internal properties.  Measuring stellar oscillations is a beautiful physics experiment: a star is a gaseous sphere and will oscillate in many different modes when suitably excited.  The frequencies of these oscillations depend on the sound speed inside the star, which in turn depends on density, temperature, gas motion and other properties of the stellar interior.  This analysis, called asteroseismology, yields information such as composition, age, mixing and internal rotation that cannot be obtained in any other way and is completely analogous to the seismological study of the interior of the Earth.

Many stars, including the Sun, are observed to oscillate.  Asteroseismology is a new and rapidly developing field and there are several possible PhD projects, depending on the preference of the student. The projects will use observations from NASA’s Kepler and TESS spacecrafts.

Additional information

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 715