The Giant Misalignment: Measuring The Tilt Of A Star, Kepler-56

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Spheres in the top panel illustrate different pulsation modes of a star, with colors indicating the brightness change during a pulsation cycle. As the inclination of the spin-axis decreases, the amplitude of the pulsation modes increases or decreases depending on the orientation of the mode to the line of sight of the observer. This technique enables astronomers to measure the inclination of the stellar rotation axis to our line of sight. The misalignment found int the Kepler-56 system -- a red giant star with two close-in transiting planets and a third companion orbiting much further out -- was detected using this technique.
Credit: Andrea Miglio, University of Birmingham, UK

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