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  detecting the Sun's vibrations
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detecting the Sun's vibrations


I enjoy all sorts of music - especially music for dancing, from Indian music through to Scottish country dancing! In this section, I'm going to tell you about the music of the Sun. We can detect lots of different ringing noises in the Sun. It's a bit like the notes and echoes you can hear in a club or concert hall.


We can't actually hear the noise the Sun is making from here on Earth, but we can measure the very small vibrations in the plasma, caused by sound waves. We do this by studying the light coming from the Sun.

Click here for the sound of a single note

But... nothing in nature is quite that simple! In fact, there are lots of notes all "ringing" at the same time.

Click here to get a more accurate idea of what the Sun would sound like if we could hear it.

10 million music notes - vibrations from the Sun

Here is a picture showing 10 million musical notes or vibrations on the Sun. The red dots show plasma moving away from us and the blue dots show plasma moving towards us. We can tell which way the plasma is moving by using the Doppler Shift.


Listen to the way the Doppler shift changes the sound of this car horn as it moves toward and away.

Brian Buster - Just how big are the shifts we are looking for? -  

The Doppler shift affects light from the Sun too. It changes the wavelength of sunlight depending on whether the Sun’s plasma is travelling toward or away from us.


What is the Doppler shift?
The Doppler shift is a change of wavelength of any wave (light or sound) detected by an observer depending on whether the object emitting the wave is moving toward or away from the observer.




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