Monday, July 5, 2010

The Singing "Sun"

On July 4th I took my Canadian Cousins to the Chabot Science Center up in the Berkeley hills. We were able to view the sun through one of the telescopes and actually saw one of the sun spots and some of the bursts of gasses and whatever else shoots out from the surface. We also "heard" the sun singing and my brain found that intriguing. "The Sun is playing a secret melody, hidden inside itself, that produces a widespread throbbing motion of its surface. The sounds are coursing through the Sun's interior, causing the entire globe, or parts of it, to move in and out, slowly and rhythmically like the regular rise and fall of tides in a bay or of a beating heart." (Kenneth R. Lang) Thanks to Stanford University, you can hear the sun singing. Evidently, the Sun's sound waves are normally at frequencies too low for the human ear to hear. To be able to hear them, the scientists sped up the waves 42,000 times -- and compressed 40 days of vibrations into a few seconds.

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