Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2020 January 21
Explanation: What does the solar wind sound like? A wind of fast moving particles blows out from our Sun, and although space transmits sound poorly, particle impact and variable-field data from NASA's near-Sun Parker Solar Probe is being translated into sound. The disarming audio track of the featured video recounts several of these reverberations, including spooky-sounding Langmuir Waves (heard first), hurricane-sounding Whistler Mode Waves (heard next), and hard-to-describe Dispersive Chirping Waves (heard last). Also impressive is the video's time-lapse visual track which shows Parker's view to the side of its sun shield, and where the planets Earth, Jupiter, Mercury and Venus appear in succession, interspersed with bursts of powerful cosmic rays impacting the imager. The nature of the solar wind near Mercury is surprisingly different from near the Earth, and much study is underway to better understand the differences.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.