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Study shows stars able to make sound

A new study reveals that stars have the ability to “sing,” according to Extreme Tech. These sounds reach a frequency 6 million times higher than a mammal is able to hear.

John Pasley, a University of York physicist, believes the sole location in nature where such a sound could occur would be on the surface of 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,” he said.

Researchers stumbled across this discovery while investigating how plasma travels after coming in contact with an ultra-intense laser. A trillionth of a second after the laser first meets the plasma, the plasma separates and moves from levels of high density to low density, creating a “traffic jam.”

As a result of the pressure increases and collisions, the plasma generates pulsations of nearly 100 thousand hertz, much like a sound wave. Humans can only hear up to 20 thousand hertz.

According to Alex Robinson, from the Plasma Physics Group at STFC’s Central Laser Facility and who developed a numerical model to generate acoustic waves for the experiment,  “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. This showed that we had discovered a new way of generating sound from fluid flows. Similar situations could occur in plasma flowing around stars,” Robinson said.