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Solar Songs Resonate From the Sun's Atmosphere June 25, 2010
Solar flare
New high-definition solar images have allowed scientists to reveal tunes being created by the sun.
The huge magnetic loops that create solar flares and prominences erupting from the surface of the sun are also creating cosmic melodies that scientists say can help them better understand how Earth’s nearest star works.

Astronomers at Britain’s University of Sheffield said they uncovered the eerie musical harmonies produced by the magnetic field in the sun’s outer atmosphere by using a complicated computer model to interpret new high-resolution satellite observations.

The giant magnetic loops can stretch for more than 100,000 miles out into space vibrate like a giutar string or the reed in a flute. New complex algorithms have now been developed to convert the vibrations into music. Similar methods have been used to study earthquakes.

“It is providing us with a new way of learning about the sun and giving us a new insight into the physics that goes on in the sun’s outer layers, where temperatures reach millions of degrees,” solar physicist Robertus von Fáy-Siebenbürgen told the UK’s Daily Telegraph.

He says studying the “music of the sun” could provide the ability to predict solar flares before they happen.

Charged particles sent into space by such eruptions can knock out satellites, electronics and power grids if they are powerful enough when reaching Earth.

Listen to an example of the solar song.

Photo: NASA