Telescope records earthquakes on stars in the Milky Way Galaxy (NASA) 27 October 2010
The Milky Way Galaxy
The Milky Way Galaxy is our home.
Our Solar System is situated in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way, which is a barred spiral galaxy.
The central bulge in the Milky Way is the 'galactic core', which is thought to contain a massive black hole.
A powerful Nasa space telescope has recorded massive earthquakes on thousands of distant stars. The starquakes, reported by the space agency last night, are allowing astronomers to learn about the stars' age, size and evolution.
They were recorded by NASA's £400 million Kepler probe, launched in 2009 to seek out new worlds.
Kepler is keeping constant watch on more than 100,000 stars in one small region of the Milky Way. Its main mission is to find signs of small rocky planets like Earth, but it is measuring powerful quakes rippling through the faraway stars.
Mission scientist Douglas Hudgins, at NASA HQ in Washington, said:
"Using the unparalleled data provided by Kepler, scientists are quite literally revolutionising our understanding of stars and their structures."