By Deborah Gage
Posting in Government
Here's one scientist's guess.
But if we could hear the sun, it would be noisy, says Scott McIntosh of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
McIntosh and other scientists measured changes in the light waves that the sun emits and translated those changes into sound waves.
The light waves are a reflection of the giant waves of gas that travel inside the sun and burst to the sun's surface. In the picture, you can see an ejection of material from the sun in the upper right corner.
The scientists measured the light by using a dopplergraph, an instrument mounted on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory -- one thing it can measure is the time it takes gas waves to travel through the sun. (SOHO was built in Europe under the direction of the European Space Agency and launched by NASA in 1995).
Then they used a computer model to translate the motion of the light waves into sound waves, speeding up the frequencies until the sounds were high enough to be heard by humans.
According to McIntosh, the sound of the sun includes many different frequencies mixed together. From the National Science Foundation, which supported the work:
...the multi-frequency song of the sun (is like) the ringing of cathedral bells that each hit different notes. Just as cathedral bells get louder and chime out certain pitches when certain bells are simultaneously rung, the sun belts out rhythmic bass thumps over its background hum when certain frequencies overlap with one another.
You can hear the sound of the sun for yourself here:
Oct 7, 2010
the waveforms would have to be terribly compressed in order to "hear" the low frequencies that are produced. I would have thought it would have sounded a lot like Niagara Falls or "pink noise".... a sort of all frequencies at the same time at roughly the same amplitude. Like the noise one hears on your stereo hi-fi monitoring the FM tuner between radio stations (w/ the FM mute button off) and then turn it up as loud as you dare. By compression, I mean to say that there isn't a microphone made that could handle those high amplitude low frequencies. The diaphragm would be ripped to shreds, and the same would go with our ear drums and the speakers (transducers) needed to reproduce such sound. Therefore, The lows would have to be compressed, much like how the RIAA folks compressed bass sounds that were recorded and then reproduced on vinyl records. If one looks at a vinyl record, one would be hard pressed (play on words there) to actually see the bass tones. But they do exist, as before compact discs records were the best form of reproduction available to the consumer (if that consumer had a decent turntable and pickup cartridge). One could hear all the way down to 30 cycles. But then again, since there is no air in space, no sound could exist and this is a moot point. The contributor that asked what the sun tasted like had a valid point.
Chris Buono said it all... Maybe next the National Center for Atmospheric Research can speculate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
This kinds of research is really cool :>) Even if you think it's a waste of money as it doesn't seem to apply directly to anything practical, it's a new way of thinking about something and that can spark so many more ideas. Smart planet always finds things to write about that inspire me to think.
Geee... that's funny. I thought it would sound like something burning, not like feedback through a mic......
"...if we could hear the sun, it would be noisy..." REALLY! REALLY! I bet if we could taste the sun, it would be spicy. I hope we didn't spend a lot of taxpayer's money on this.
Sounds like the kind of headache you get in the middle of the summer when the sun is beating down and you don't have a hat. Hmmmm....maybe we CAN hear it!