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


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


World »

Syrian rebels advance on Kurds as Turkish strikes kill 35
Turkey-backed Syrian rebels seized a number of villages and towns from Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria on Sunday amid Turkish airstrikes and shelling that killed at least 35 people, mostly civilians, according to rebels and a monitoring group.
Donald Trump wants to track U.S. entrants to ensure they don't overstay their visas
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said on Saturday he would seek to develop a tracking system to ensure visitors who overstay their visas and become illegal immigrants are removed from the United States.
CBC IN ITALY Trying to mourn the dead after quake leaves graves open in Italy
It was a day of national mourning in Italy on Saturday. But in the midst of an earthquake zone, still chaotic and reeling from aftershocks, it is not always easy to hold to formality.
more »

Canada »

Kathleen Wynne says scrapping Ontario's sex-ed curriculum 'very, very dangerous'
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is firing back at Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown, who has promised to scrap the Liberals' sex-ed curriculum if his party forms the next government.
Criminal probe launched into Calgary police conduct after man seriously injured during arrest
A criminal investigation has been launched into the conduct of Calgary police officers after a man sustained "several serious injuries" during an arrest in July near Chinook Mall.
Toronto mother sells house to support son with developmental disabilities
Vicki McCallum says her 27-year-old son is heading for a crisis without support from the Ontario government.
more »

Politics »

How to ask China about human rights: Dos and don'ts for Trudeau
It's an issue that's certain to come up on Justin Trudeau's trip to China. But what do world leaders actually say to each other when they talk about human rights?
Analysis How Justin Trudeau plans to deliver on 'deliverology'
Shortly before the House of Commons adjourned for the summer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided which of the government's priorities would receive his special attention — four commitments on which he hopes to deliver results.
Ottawa MP Mauril Bélanger, who died of ALS, honoured at funeral video
Longtime Ottawa MP Mauril Bélanger, who died earlier this month after a battle with ALS, was laid to rest Saturday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and former governor general Michaëlle Jean among the dignitaries in attendance.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page

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»

Drake, Bieber to battle Beyoncé, Adele, Kanye for top MTV video award
Justin Bieber and Drake have their eyes on MTV's top award to be handed out Sunday in New York.
'I was a dog': Birth of a Nation's Nate Parker addresses rape case controversy
Nate Parker, whose historical biopic The Birth of a Nation will be screening at TIFF and is already receiving critical acclaim, spoke out Friday about a past rape allegation after remaining silent for weeks.
Don Cheadle, Michelle Williams outraged at Trump's Dwyane Wade tweet
Donald Trump is being slammed on social media after posting a message about the shooting death of Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade.
more »

Technology & Science »

Esports founder, team owner spar over mid-season rule changes ahead of Toronto finals video
Days before one of the biggest esports competitions takes place in Toronto's Air Canada Centre, a war of words between an owner and team manager brought to light lingering questions about how its ever-evolving rules put unique pressure on players forced to adapt or perish.
Dig reveals surprise about 'super-henge' near Stonehenge
A dig where researchers last year said they had detected a "major new prehistoric stone monument" buried near Stonehenge has revealed something quite different than expected.
Video Brazilian plant's 'sneeze' caught on video video
A plant in the Brazilian rainforest and one discovered fossilized in amber in Mexico and the Dominican Republic are similar because it appears the two release pollen in an explosive way, like a sneeze, researchers say.
more »

Money »

Canada Post's relationship with its workers is blighted by 'underlying toxicity'
Whenever Canada Post management and union representatives reach an agreement, whether through negotiation or arbitration, the resolution may not be enough to repair their fraught relations.
Analysis Janet Yellen, Jackson Hole and the anti-Davos
A fishing hole in the middle of Wyoming might not be the first place that leaps to mind when one thinks of venues for major world economic conferences, but the bucolic scene of Jackson Hole is just that. Once a year, the global elite descend on the area to listen to what the U.S. central banker has to say.
McDonald's Happy Meal mistake, and Rio's poor Olympic ROI: BUSINESS WEEK WRAP
From more details on how the Fort McMurray fire keeps burning red ink, to some valid questions about the costs of Canada's gold, silver and bronze medals, it was a colourful week in business news. The CBC's Jacqueline Hansen gets you caught up on the week that was in her video recap.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page

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]
Tory Nyhaug wins 13th Canadian BMX title after Rio disappointment
Tory Nyhaug has won his 13th title at the BMX Canadian Championships in Calgary, less than a week after he returned from a disappointing Olympic Games in Brazil.
John McEnroe won't work with Milos Raonic during U.S. Open
John McEnroe says he won't work with Milos Raonic during the U.S. Open "for Milos' sake, for ESPN and my sake."
Recap Melvin Upton Jr. rallies Blue Jays past Twins video
Melvin Upton Jr. hit an RBI triple and came home on an error in the eighth inning as the Toronto Blue Jays rallied to an 8-7 win over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday afternoon.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »