Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hear the Sun Sing

Standford University has an interesting site on the Internet regarding helioseismology, which is the study of the Sun using sound (pressure) waves. To accomplish this, images are captured of the Sun's surface; the movements of the surface are extracted and converted to audio signals; and, finally, the signals are filtered and analyzed to determine things about the internal structure and dynamics of the Sun. One neat thing that comes out of it is that you can listen to the filtered audio signals - a technologically derived "music of the spheres". It takes the poetry out of the whole process but it can still be beautiful in its own (geeky) way.

This humorous quote caught my eye:
So, like seismologists who study earthquakes, helioseismologists study "quakes" on the sun. Their job is a bit like figuring out how a piano was put together by listening to it fall down the stairs!
The site is by the Stanford Solar Center; information and audio files can be found here.

(Hat tip: ICAD mailing list, run by the International Conference on Auditory Display)

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