Does the Sun make noise as it burns?


The surface of the Sun produces sound waves because the surface is convecting and this produces pressure waves that travel into the inner corona. These pressure waves steepen into shock waves and this is possibly why the corona gets so hot. But yes, the surface does produce sound waves, but they have very low wavelengths measures in hundreds of miles!

Dr. Amaro Graps at Stanford University also reminded me that in 'helioseismology' you can 'hear' the Sun ring like a bell. This is coherent sound produced by the vibration of the entire surface of the Sun caused by sub-surface convection. By studying all the different tones that the Sun vibrates in, astronomers can probe the deep interior of the Sun and discover just how deep the convection layers are, and also how fast the deep interior is rotating compared to the surface.


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All answers are provided by Dr. Sten Odenwald (Raytheon STX) for the
NASA IMAGE/POETRY Education and Public Outreach program.