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We can all see the sun, and we can certainly feel the sun, but have you ever wondered what the sun would sound like? Well now you don’t have to wonder anymore. Researchers and composers from the University of Michigan have found a way to put sound to data collected on the Sun.

The project started when Thomas Zurbuchen, an engineering and atmospheric science professor, became concerned that scientists were missing critical data by only using visual data. Zurbuchen and his colleagues used sonification-the process of taking data and interpreting it musically-to understand the solar weather. Solar weather is made up of solar wind-a stream of charged particles emanating from the sun-and short-term solar occurrences like solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME).

The process was performed on solar wind data captured by the NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer satellite in 2003. Robert Alexander started by analyzing the features of terrestrial wind, and generated the sweeping wind sound from both solar wind density and velocity. The velocity measured controls the cut-off frequency of a band-pass filter placed over pink-noise which creates a whooshing sound, while the density dictated the volume of the wind sound; a higher density leading to a louder wind. During a solar flare this is further amplified and processed with a form of distortion known as overdrive which causes the wind to swell and ebb in a more pronounced manner.

Changes in the carbon state distribution were matched to six distinct vocal layers, while the value average charge state of carbon is represented by a further set of vocals, provided by Alexander’s sister, singing in a higher register. The ratio of solar wind density to oxygen (He/O) is represented by a chord composed of an extremely high frequency set of triangle waveforms which could be described as a “glistening”. During a CME the reverb suddenly swells to much higher volume before receding gently back to a baseline which creates a feeling of sudden expanse. A tribal beat was overlaid to represent the rotation of the sun and the playback speed of the data is scaled so that the rotation lines up precisely with the tempo of the music set at 150 beats per minute (bpm). This means a full Sidereal Carrington rotation (25.38 days) takes place every eight measures.

While the project did not reveal any new information about the sun, the product is an amazing creation that helps utilize all of our senses to gain a new appreciation for the sun.

Article source: Gizmag

-Nat Smith

Posted by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy co-founded Sungevity and now serves as strategic advisor. He is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Planet - from Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.