googled #1

In the spirit of being four, Fridays on Scopes are dedicated to learning. And by learning, I mean picking up a random fun fact that may or may not be useful in impressing your next [tinder] date. You are welcome.

Wait, does the sun make a sound?!

This was the thought that popped into my head last Sunday evening. "Into the Orion Nebula" by Project Skyward had been thumping in my ears for nearly two hours as I wrote a snippet for Scopes. I glanced at my phone to check the time, and before I even realized it, the new tab with Google was already open. First, I was researching the Orion Nebula, and then the Eagle Nebula. Nebulae are quite beautiful. This quickly spiraled into relearning how nebulae are the "nurseries" for new stars. (Shout out to Khan Academy!) Next, I was looking at supernovae and black holes. Forty-five minutes later, my mind was racing and it suddenly dawned on me: space is pure CHOAS. Which is really sassy, but in a kind of terrifying way. 

The explosions of energy from quasars. The ignitions of stars caused by fusion. The leaps of solar flares from the sun. If space were not a vacuum, what would all this sound like?! I settled on learning about the sun first:

Googled: "does the sun make sound"

The answer is: yes! Like the bubbles in a pot of boiling water, the gases from the sun's core rush upwards and bump into the surface causing a disruption. The resulting pressure waves ripple across the surface, and are thousands of kilometers wide. If we could hear them through space, the solar waves would roar like jet engines - often breaking the sound barrier as they zipped around. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that space is a vacuum! Trying to live day to day life with sonic booms would be rather aggravating. 

Although we can't hear the sun in a traditional sense, that doesn't mean it can't be heard at all. The study of the sun's acoustic pressure waves is actually vital, and its called helioseismology. This field of study allows scientists to see the events occurring beneath the surface in the core and convection zones. (Which is great, because it's quite toasty in there - reaching a casual 27 million degrees Fahrenheit.) An adorable satellite - named SOHO - continuously monitors our yellow dwarf. In addition to relaying information back to scientists at the Solar Dynamics Observatory, SOHO uses a Michelson Doppler Imager to turn the solar pressure waves into audible sounds for our ears. A very low hum is captured about once every five minutes, and this is what our sun sounds like: 

Ta-da! Something new to brighten your day. (Literally!) Below are photos from the Eagle and Orion Nebulae, respectively. (I told you, crazy beautiful.) This is definitely going to seal the deal with your date. Happy weekend-ing!