as·​tero·​seis·​mol·​o·​gy ˌa-stə-(ˌ)rō-sīz-ˈmä-lə-jē How to pronounce asteroseismology (audio)
: the study of vibrations in the material that makes up stars
Also covered is the development of asteroseismology, including the impressive results obtained from analysis of oscillations of white dwarfs, and the early results from emerging studies of solar-like oscillations in other stars.Jorgen Christensen-Dalsgaard, Nature, 8 Jan. 2004
asteroseismologist noun
plural asteroseismologists
Asteroseismologists measure the rhythmic flickers of stars, which act a bit like the star's pulse, to determine the mass, diameter, age and even the inner composition of the star. Laura Snider, Daily Camera (Boulder, Colorado), 26 Oct. 2010

Word History


astero- + seismology (after helioseismology "the study of solar oscillations")

Note: The word was used, if not introduced, by the British astronomer Douglas Gough in "Oscillations as a probe of the Sun's interior," Nature, vol. 304/no. 5928 (August 25, 1983), pp. 689-90; the article is a report on a conference with the same title held at the University of Catania on June 20-24, 1983.

First Known Use

1983, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of asteroseismology was in 1983

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Cite this Entry

“Asteroseismology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

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