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  sounds galore
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  detecting the Sun's vibrations
  different solar tunes
  the speed of sound in the Sun
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different solar tunes


A lot of the sound waves produced in the Sun die away quickly. Only those which resonate last long enough to be detected. One way of describing waves that resonate is to see if a whole number of waves fits exactly along the path taken around the Sun. This is illustrated below for high and low frequency waves.


Some waves stay near the surface. Others go all the way down to the Sun's core. The frequencies of these waves depend on the temperature and motions inside the Sun. The waves bend because the temperature inside the Sun changes, so the speed of sound changes.


You can see more movies in our Gallery
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Here is a movie showing how the waves bounce around inside the Sun.


Try these different waves to see how they resonate

Low frequencyHigh frequency

A resonant wave comes back to the same place it started at




Different Solar Tunes

Here is a picture showing calculations of the patterns formed by different waves on the solar surface. Blue and red means large motions in opposite directions. Yellow is where the surface isn't moving, these areas are called `nodes'. These aren't just pretty pictures - they show me and other helioseismologists where we should be looking to find the most useful information. Down arrow


Solar tunes



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