This chapter covers the basics of stellar pulsations, which are the main preoccupation of asteroseismology. Stellar pulsations may be detected by observing the variations of a star's brightness as a function of time. Radial velocity observations are also used in certain cases, though most pulsating stars have been studied using brightness variations. The focus of this chapter (and the book as a whole) is on stars with solar-like pulsations—the small-amplitude oscillations that are continually excited (in a stochastic manner) and damped by turbulence in the outer convection zones of the stars. In addition to a brief history of the study of solar-type oscillations, this chapter also provides an introduction to the basic appearance and properties of the pulsation spectra of solar-like oscillators.
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