I’m always searching for new sources of sound, but astronomers at the University of Sheffield have come up with a great one. They’ve managed to make an audio recording of the magnetic fields present in the atmosphere of the sun.
Coronal loops are huge magnetic loops that can be over 60,000 miles long, coil themselves in the sun’s atmosphere, and vibrate in a way very similar to how sound waves travel in a stringed instrument.
These coronal loops vibrate back and forth, just as if they were plucked by a giant hand. These loops are thought to be involved with solar flares, and create what scientists call “space weather”… no, I’m not making this up.
Space Storms can sometimes go a bit crazy, and can cause all sorts of havoc on earth, like destroying electronics, killing power grids and wrecking satellites. NASA claims that we should experience such a storm sometime around 2013.
The scientists translated measurements the vibrations into sound (as the sound itself cannot travel through the near-vacuum of space), and sped up the resulting waveforms to put them into the range of human hearing. Other than just producing some pretty amazing sounds, “sun music” has other uses as well. Professor Robertus von Fáy-Siebenbürgen, head of the solar physics research group at Sheffield University, said:
Studying the “music of the sun” would provide new ways of understanding and predicting solar flares before they happen.
Here’s a sample of what the SunSynth sounds like: VIDEO