Researchers Find Evidence That Stars Make Sounds No One Can Ever Hear

Monday, 23 March 2015 - 12:00PM
Astrophysics
Astronomy
Monday, 23 March 2015 - 12:00PM
Researchers Find Evidence That Stars Make Sounds No One Can Ever Hear

Are stars singing songs that no one will ever be able to hear? A team of researchers has just discovered experimental evidence that stars generate sound waves in the vacuum of space.

The researchers made this discovery during a new study which details a new facet of hydrodynamics. They were studying the interactions between an ultra-intense laser and plasma when they observed that in the trillionth of a second before after the laser hit the plasma, the plasma immediately traveled from high density regions to low density regions. As a result, pressure started to rise from the build-up of plasma, which generated sound waves. 

"It was initially hard to determine the origin of the acoustic signals, but our model produced results that compared favorably with the wavelength shifts observed in the experiment," said co-author Dr. Alex Robinson. "This showed that we had discovered a new way of generating sound from fluid flows. Similar situations could occur in plasma flowing around stars."

The incredibly high-frequency sound generated by this effect would not be discernible to the human ear; on the contrary, at a frequency of nearly a trillion hertz, it would be six million times higher-frequency than could be heard by any mammal on Earth.

Co-author Dr. John Pasley explained that this phenomenon would hardly ever occur in nature, but the exception may be the surface of stars: "When they are accumulating new material stars could generate sound in a very similar manner to that which we observed in the laboratory — so the stars might be singing — but, since sound cannot propagate through the vacuum of space, no one can hear them."


Via Science Daily.

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