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Distant star Kepler 11145123 is roundest object ever observed in nature

17 November 2016 Astronomy Now

A team of German researchers has succeeded in measuring the oblateness of a slowly rotating star with unprecedented precision using asteroseismology — the study of the oscillations of stars. The technique was applied to a hot and luminous star called Kepler 11145123 some 5,000 light-years away that is spherical to one part in 500,000.

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Hot super-Earth atmospheres stripped by nearby host stars

11 April 2016 Astronomy Now

Astrophysicists at the University of Birmingham have used data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope to look at super-Earths, which are planets outside our solar system with a mass 1-10 times the mass of Earth. In particular, the researchers focused on hot super-Earths whose atmospheres have been stripped away by intense radiation from nearby host stars.

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Strong magnetic fields discovered in majority of stars

4 January 2016 Astronomy Now

A group of astronomers led by the University of Sydney has discovered strong magnetic fields are common in stars, not rare as previously thought, which will dramatically impact our understanding of how stars evolve. The findings could potentially lead to a better understanding of the Sun’s magnetic cycle, which is known to affect communication systems and cloud cover on Earth.

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Asteroseismology reveals magnetic fields deep within stars

24 October 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers have for the first time probed the magnetic fields in the mysterious inner regions of stars, finding they are strongly magnetised. Using a technique called asteroseismology, the scientists were able to calculate the magnetic field strengths in the fusion-powered hearts of dozens of red giants, stars that are evolved versions of our Sun.