Scientists have captured the ‘song’ of a distant star as part of new research that is providing insights into what lies beneath its surface.
Astrophysicists from the University of Birmingham and scientists working with Nasa have measured the changes in the brightness of light coming from the star KIC 11026764, which has been nicknamed Gemma and is about twice the size of the sun. They found the star, which is 3,100 trillion miles away from the Earth, vibrates rather like a musical instrument due to so called “starquakes” that resonate from the surface to the core.
Watch the below to hear the sound of the sun!
Using a technique called astroseismology they were able to detect the flickers of light caused by these starquakes and reconstruct the sound produced by the star. The harmonic hum, which sounds a little like wind blowing over a microphone, has revealed new information about the internal structure of the star, explained Dr Bill Chaplin, an asteroseismologist at Birmingham University who took part in the research.
He said these vibrations could help astronomers learn more about the age, size and composition of other stars. He said: “Essentially stars resonate like a huge musical instrument. Stars make sounds naturally but we can’t hear this as it is has to travel through space. Like a musical instrument, stars are not uniformly solid all the way to their core, so the sound gets trapped inside the outer layers and oscillates around inside.
“This makes the star vibrate causing it to expand and contract. We can detect this visually because the star gets brighter and dimmer and so we can reconstruct the sounds produced from these vibrations.”
The new research comes just six months after scientists at Sheffield University recorded eerie musical harmonies emitted from the surface of the sun. Dr Chaplin worked with an international team of scientists using data captured by Nasa’s Kepler space telescope, which is searching for planets orbiting stars in our galaxy. around a billion years older than our own sun.