The vacuum of space does not allow for sound to travel between two objects in the same way it does on Earth. Sound is a vibration emitted by one object, which travels through a medium such as air until it is heard by another object. Scientists have, however, been able to work around this limitation to devise novels of interpreting the signals emitted by the cosmos. Astronomers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US, have isolated a peculiar type of resonance caused by blinking stars.
These “vibrations” are fluctuations in temperature and brightness on the surface of a star.
Powerful telescopes can pick up these vibrations and through computer simulations recreate the sound made by stars.
Jacqueline Goldstein, a graduate astronomy student at Wisconsin-Madison, said: “A cello sounds like a cello because of its size and shape.
“The vibrations of stars also depends on their size and structure.”
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But at incredible frequencies in the range of minutes to days, astronomers need to speed up the vibrations by up to a million times for the human ear to hear.
As a result, the stellar vibrations are being referred to as “starquakes” and the new field of study has been dubbed “astroseismology”.
Astronomers hope the discovery can better help understand the composition and structure of stars.
When a star fuses hydrogen atoms into heavier elements such as helium, hot plasma or superheated gas causes a star’s flickering.
Astronomers who intently observe these flicker can deduce a star’s structure and how it will behave with the passage of time.
Ms Goldstein, who studies stars bigger than our Sun, said: “Those are the ones that explode and make black holes and neutron stars and all the heavy elements in the universe that form planets and, essentially, new life.
“We want to understand how they work and how they affect the evolution of the universe. So these really big questions.”
But this is not the first time astronomers have recreated the sounds of the cosmos.
In July 2018, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center used data collected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to recreate the sound of the Sun.
NASA’s and ESA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) collected data over a 20 year period of time, during which the Sun’s movements were recorded.
The data was then translated into an eerie and incredibly low hum.
NASA’s Alex Young said: “You’re actually hearing the vibration of the Sun. It almost has a warmth to it.
“It’s just enough where I can feel the sound on my skin or on my clothes. I imagine feeling the Sun moving next to me.”