Stellar evolution, a fundamental bedrock of modern astrophysics, is driven by the physical processes in stellar interiors. While we understand these processes in general terms, we lack some important ingredients. Seemingly small uncertainties in the input physics of the models ( e.g., the opacities or the amount of mixing and of interior rotation) have large consequences for the evolution of stars. The goal of asteroseismology is to improve the description of the interior physics of stars by means of their oscillations, just as global helioseismology led to a huge step forward in our knowledge about the internal structure of the Sun. In this paper we present the current status of asteroseismology by considering case studies of stars with a variety of masses and evolutionary stages. In particular, we outline how the confrontation between the observed oscillation frequencies and those predicted by the models allows us to pinpoint limitations of the input physics of current models and improve them to a level that cannot be reached with any other current method.
- Pub Date:
- September 2008
- convective zone;
- Instrumentation and data management;
- 20 pages, 5 figures, accepted for publication in Solar Physics