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What Does a 'Twinkling' Star Sound Like?

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Twinkling stars.

The researchers used their simulations to generate sound. Because these waves are outside the range of human hearing, the researchers uniformly increased the frequencies of the waves to make them audible.

Credit: Giphy

While stars appear to twinkle because our atmosphere bends starlight as it travels to Earth, a team of researchers led by Northwestern University three-dimensionally simulated rippling waves of gas generated by stars that contribute to their apparent twinkle, and rendered them as sound waves.

The models simulate invisible convection zones in the stars' cores. They incorporate all relevant physics to accurately forecast the stars' shifting brightness from convection-produced waves.

The researchers designed a filter to define how waves bounce around within the models to isolate waves that reach the surface and generate twinkling.

They made the waves audible by uniformly amplifying their frequencies, with different sounds corresponding to distinct levels of brightness or scale.

Said Northwestern’s Evan Anders, "For the first time, we have developed computer models which allow us to determine how much a star should twinkle as a result of these waves. This work allows future space telescopes to probe the central regions where stars forge the elements we depend upon to live and breathe."

From Northwestern Now
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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