23 June 2010

Celestial harmonies

According to Discovery Online astronomers have discovered that there truly is the music of the spheres... well music emanating from the Sun. The magnetic field in the outer atmosphere of the Sun produces eerie musical harmonies

Scientists at the University of Sheffield found that huge magnetic loops that have been observed coiling away from the outer layer of the Sun's atmosphere -- known as coronal loops -- vibrate like strings on a musical instrument. In other cases they behave more like sound waves as they travel through a wind instrument.

Using satellite images of these loops, which can be over 60,000 miles long, the scientists were able to recreate the sound by turning the visible vibrations into noises and speeding up the frequency so it is audible to the human ear.

"It was strangely beautiful and exciting to hear these noises for the first time from such a large and powerful source," said Prof Robertus von Fay-Siebenbrgen, head of the solar physics research group at Sheffield University. "It is a sort of music as it has harmonics.

Prof Fay-Siebenbrgen said that studying the "music of the sun" would provide new ways of understanding and predicting solar flares before they happen.

"These loops are oscillating like the strings on a guitar or the air in a wind instrument. Over time the waves die away and that is telling us new things about the physics in the sun's atmosphere," he said.

Hmm I have no idea whether this will have any applications but I love the idea of solar music.


Andrew Scott said...

I found an audio sample here:

It didn't mean a lot to me but I suspect the whales might understand it better than me.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks Andrew THat is quite a sound but it's beyond my ken too!

James Higham said...

Very much so - frequencies through the cosmos which cross the boundary from the physical to the metaphysical and bring science into a wholeness which, at the moment, it severely lacks.

jams o donnell said...

Ah this to me is the realm of physics where the physical seems to become the metaphysical

JD said...

"Researchers have simulated the sound of the Higgs Boson and other sub-atomic collisions in the Large Hadron Collider"


not very harmonic....

perhaps this is better,no samples given so I can't tell


jams o donnell said...

THanks JD. I was looking at the Cern story and was thinking of doing it as contrast posr...maybe tomorrow!

Hopefully the music of Neil Ardley is more harmonic!