Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Pipe down, Sun

by Ian Johnson, CBC news online

OK, here's a quick word-association check: What comes to mind when someone says "sun"? Words like hot, bright and blazing, right? Well, how about noisy?

Scientists have known for years that the Sun produced sounds internally, but it was thought that the waves (which have very low wavelengths measured in hundreds of kilometres) were trapped below its surface. This week, the Goddard Space Flight Center reported that using spacecraft, ground-based telescopes and computer simulations, researchers have determined that Sun's magnetic field allows wave energy to be released from the interior. The field permits sound waves to travel through thin fountains of hot gas upward into a region of the Sun's atmosphere called the chromosphere.

According to NASA:

"The surface of the Sun produces sound waves because the surface is convecting and this produces pressure waves that travel into the inner corona. These pressure waves steepen into shock waves and this is possibly why the corona gets so hot ... In 'helioseismology' you can 'hear' the Sun ring like a bell. This is coherent sound produced by the vibration of the entire surface of the Sun caused by sub-surface convection. By studying all the different tones that the Sun vibrates in, astronomers can probe the deep interior of the Sun and discover just how deep the convection layers are, and also how fast the deep interior is rotating compared to the surface."

"The Sun's interior vibrates with the peal of millions of bells, but the bells are all on the inside of the building," Scott McIntosh, a researcher at Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo., said in a report on Eurekalert regarding the latest research. "We have been able to show how the sound can escape the building and travel a long way using the magnetic field as a guide."

Not that anyone's going to be swinging by to listen any time soon, of course - which begs the question that if a
flare shoots from the sun and there's nobody around to hear, does it REALLY make a sound? The research was presented at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.

In related news, the European Space Agency says its Solar and Heliospheric Observatory has discovered radio "screams" that warn of dangerous coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which produce radiation storms that can harm astronauts, as well as electronic gear both on earth and in space.

Huge CMEs accelerate electrons in the solar wind, producing the radio signal.

"Since the radio signal moves at the speed of light while the particles lag behind, we can use a CME's radio noise to give warning that it is generating a radiation storm that will hit us soon," said Goddard Space Flight Center's Natchimuthuk Gopalswamy in a statement. "This will give astronauts and satellite operators anywhere between a few tens of minutes to a couple of hours to prepare, depending on how fast the particles are moving."

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

CBC IN SYRIA City under siege: Inside the battle for Aleppo
Aleppo is 'the jewel of Syria.' It's also where the government is hoping to win the Syrian civil war, writes Margaret Evans.
Indonesia earthquake leaves at least 97 dead
A strong undersea earthquake rocks Indonesia's Aceh province, killing at least 97 people and causing dozens of buildings to collapse.
60 feared drowned off Yemen after boat disappears
The Yemeni government says 60 nationals are feared drowned in the Arabian Sea after their vessel went missing late last week.
more »

Canada »

Analysis Liberals hold on to honeymoon gains in national polls
A year after forming government, the Liberals continue to poll above the support they received in last year's election, largely at the expense of the NDP. But might the government be at risk of losing this newfound support with its handling of the pipeline and electoral reform files?
CBC Investigates Millions of vehicles with potentially dangerous recalls still on road
Millions of vehicles in Canada, an estimated one in six, have an outstanding safety recall, and auto industry experts say not enough is being done to fix them.
'Danger Report': Real estate pros fret court could break lock on secret sales data
The Toronto Real Estate Board has appealed the Competition Tribunal's ruling that the board must stop guarding coveted sales data. TREB says it's a privacy issue. Critics say TREB is refusing to modernize.
more »

Politics »

Exclusive Ottawa open to long-term health accord with provinces: source
The federal government is signalling a willingness to sign a longer-term health accord with the provinces in a shift that could help end the standoff in negotiations over transfer payments for health care.
Kurdish authorities defend detention of Canadian Michael Kennedy
A senior Kurdish official says the detention of an ex-Canadian soldier was justified. The regional government's deputy foreign minister say Michael Kennedy illegally crossed from Iraq to Syria and back again in the fight against ISIS.
Analysis Liberals hold on to honeymoon gains in national polls
A year after forming government, the Liberals continue to poll above the support they received in last year's election, largely at the expense of the NDP. But might the government be at risk of losing this newfound support with its handling of the pipeline and electoral reform files?
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

CBC plans nationwide New Year's Eve party to kick off Canada 150 programming
A rollicking cross-country New Year's Eve party — featuring Carly Rae Jepsen, The Strumbellas and Brett Kissel as well as a spectacular fireworks show — will kick off CBC's ambitious lineup of programming to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary.
YouTube showcases 2016's most popular online videos
Ahead of this year's YouTube Rewind, the company also released a list of the clips, music videos and trailers that 'captured the imaginations of Canadians' in 2016.
'Man who walks among the stars': AFN honours tearful Gord Downie video
Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip and an advocate for First Nations people, is honoured at the Assembly of First Nation's gathering for his work highlighting the plight of those who were subjected to residential schools.
more »

Technology & Science »

Scientists develop robotic hand for people with quadriplegia
A mind-controlled robotic hand allows people with certain types of spinal injuries to perform everyday tasks such as using a fork or drinking from a cup.
Privacy watchdogs urge caution with encryption laws
Privacy watchdogs from across Canada warn the government to "proceed cautiously" before passing encryption legislation — a move that would have the potential to undermine the security of everything from financial transactions to online communication.
Canada's 15-year-old students among best global performers in science, math
A new OECD survey finds that Canadian students fare better in science and math than most of their peers around the world, but there's room for improvement.
more »

Money »

'Danger Report': Real estate pros fret court could break lock on secret sales data
The Toronto Real Estate Board has appealed the Competition Tribunal's ruling that the board must stop guarding coveted sales data. TREB says it's a privacy issue. Critics say TREB is refusing to modernize.
CBC Investigates Millions of vehicles with potentially dangerous recalls still on road
Millions of vehicles in Canada, an estimated one in six, have an outstanding safety recall, and auto industry experts say not enough is being done to fix them.
Oil price retreats from 18-month peak on high OPEC output
Oil came back down from its highest level since July 2015 on Tuesday as new figures from OPEC show it is pumping out huge amounts of oil even as the cartel is getting set to tighten the spigots in the new year.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Preview Figure skating's best battle at Grand Prix Final video
This week's Grand Prix Final is the only chance to see all of figure skating's top athletes in the same place before the world championships in March. For Canadian fans, it's also proof that the sport is back on track in this country.
Coming Up World short-course swimming championships video
Watch the morning heats live Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. ET as Penny Oleksiak, Kylie Masse and more Canadian swimming stars compete in the world short-course championships in Windsor, Ont.
There's more than 1 Penny in short-course pool in Windsor
The lucky loonie has been joined by a penny in the Windsor pool this week.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »