Silent Night of Singing Stars

Singing stars play their music to the void of space, why don’t they just make a soundcloud?


The famous ancient Greek math-guy, Pythagoras once described “music in the spacing of the spheres,” which has influenced man’s quest to understand the starry night ever since.  Recently, scientists have found that this music may actually exist, in a literal sense.  While studying the way a laser interacts with plasma, researchers used their findings to suggest that stars may be emitting a sound.  This was reported by Britain’s University of York.

The sound would unfortunately be so high pitch that no mammal would be able to hear it, if it were not playing into the vacuum of space, that is.  “Sound cannot propagate through the vacuum of space, no one can hear them,” explained a researcher at the U-of-York.  He added poetically, “The stars might be singing.”

By firing a laser at plasma, researchers saw that in the span of a trillionth of a second, plasma quickly moved going from high-density to low-density areas, forming a kind of ‘traffic jam‘ in the spot where the two areas meet.  This resulted in pressure and colliding ions, leading to a sound wave as reported in Popular Science.  Stars have an exterior which can be a home to plasma, allowing for similar situations to happen.

“One of the few locations in nature where we believe this effect would occur is at the surface of stars,” the researcher says. “When they are accumulating new material, stars could generate sound in a very similar manner.”


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