ERC advanced grant


Probing Stellar Physics

and testing stellar evolution

through asteroseismology

Prof. Conny Aerts received an ERC (European Research Council) Advanced Grant for her proposal entitled PROSPERITY: probing stellar physics and testing stellar evolution through asteroseismology.

The research of Conny Aerts focuses on the unraveling of the internal structures of stars through stellar oscillations: asteroseismology. The basic principles of asteroseismology are very similar to those developed by earth seismologists. Stellar interiors can be probed from oscillations because different oscillation modes penetrate to different depths inside the star. Asteroseismology is the only available method to derive the internal structure of the stars with high precision. The structure and composition of the star imply that it oscillates at very specific frequencies. Just like after an earthquake, the oscillations function as a signal which gives us information about the internal stellar structure. In order to be able to detect those oscillations and deduce the physics of the stellar interior, we need photometric and spectroscopic observations of very high quality and long duration. In her research, Conny Aerts and her team will make use of

new high-precision observations gathered with the French-led European CoRoT satellite as well as the NASA Kepler mission, together with ground-based observations to be assembled with the Flemish Mercator Telescope at La Palma, Canary Islands  and with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory located in Chile.

Prosperity HIGHlights

(click on the titles below)

  1. Fast core rotation in red-giant stars as revealed by gravity-dominated mixed modes , Paul Beck et al., 2011, Nature: DOI: 10.1038/nature 106212

Click on the image to see an animation

Press release: click here

  1. KASC/WG9 &CoRoT: Workshop: asteroseismology of eclipsing binaries

        26-29/4/2011 Leuven, Belgium

  1. Kepler-Detected Gravity-Mode Period Spacings in a Red Giant Star, Paul Beck et al., 2011, Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1201939

Click on the image to see an animation

Press release: click here

  1. Deviations from uniform spacings of gravity modes for the massive star

HD 50230, Pieter Degroote et al., 2010, Nature, 464, 259-261

The light curve of HD 50230 measured by the CoRoT satellite.

Press release (Dutch only): click here



ERC grant holder Conny Aerts received the prestigious Belgian Francqui Prize 2012 for her research in the area of asteroseismology.


  1. Settting a new standard in the analysis of binary stars, 16-19 September 2013, Leuven.

  2. International Francqui Symposium: “What asteroseismology has to offer to astrophysics”, 2-4 December 2013

  3. Tutorial for young post-docs: How to survive from PhD to tenure track, 5 December 20123


Figure courtesy of Pieter Degroote