Close your eyes and listen to this clip. It may sound like a Tibetan meditation bowl or a giant cosmic didgeridoo, but it’s actually the sun! Kind of.
A group of very poetic scientists from NASA and the ESA (The European Space Agency) used data from NASA’s Solar and Heliospehric Observatory to map the vibrations that form the “low, pulsing hum of our star’s heartbeat.” The result will either chill you out or instill a deep and vague sense of heliacal unease.
Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, explains a little bit more about what you’re hearing when you’re hearing the sun.
“When anything material moves, waves travel through it, and the same thing happens inside the Sun,” he says in a NASA recording. Since humans can’t see that sort of movement on the sun with the naked eye, this “Sun song” is that movement translated into a medium we can actually sense — sound.
That’s pretty exciting for scientists too, since this sheds some light, so to speak, on the literal inner workings of our mother star.
“The Sun is vibrating at lots of different frequencies,” Young says. “We don’t have straightforward ways to look inside the Sun…so using a star or the Sun’s natural vibrations allows us to see inside of it.”
So, the sun doesn’t sound like a massive yule log like some people may have suspected, but the result is something equally as pleasant — and probably more useful, from a research perspective.
Put this on a loop, slap some cool cucumbers over your eyes, and become one with the universe.