Feeds

Solar waves make Earth ring like a bell

Ding-dong

Security for virtualized datacentres

Sounds generated deep in the fiery depths of the Sun make Earth, its atmosphere, and even its magnetic field ring like many cosmic bells.

SOHO image of the Sun and an artist's impression of Earth's magnetosphere. Credit, NASA/ESA

SOHO image of the Sun and an artist's impression of Earth's magnetosphere.

Credit: NASA/ESA

According to researchers on the Ulysses mission, there are distinct tones that are thought to be generated by energy and pressure waves in the Sun. Now, researchers have identified these same tones in the Earth's seismic data, and even in induced voltages in ocean cabling.

The vibrations in the Sun have two causes: pressure waves and gravity waves, which are referred to as p-mode and g-mode, respectively. Scientists hope to use the g-mode waves to study the interior of the Sun, in the same way that seismic data can provide an insight into the inner workings of Earth.

But although the p-mode solar oscillations have been observed by the SOHO observatory, g-mode vibrations are not optically detectable. But the evidence of the waves is there, and easily detectable, in data on Earth.

Lead researcher David Thomson says data from the Ulysses mission provides clues as to how the sounds reach Earth. He suggests the vibrations are picked up by the magnetic field at the Sun's surface. The solar wind then carries the field into interplanetary space, where space probes like Ulysses can pick up the signal.

The solar wind also interacts with the Earth's magnetic field, causing it to vibrate in sympathy. From our magnetic field, the signal is picked up by our many technological systems, as well as the planet itself.

The researchers add that the tones are far beyond the edge of human hearing, some 12 octaves below the lowest detectable note. While orchestras tune up to the A above middle C, at around 440 Hertz, the Earth rings at a much more stately 100-5000microHz. That is one vibration every 278 hours, or 11.5 days. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight
Will Vulture 2 freeze at altitude? Edge Research Lab to find out
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.