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Space Science

Tsunami Spotted on the Surface of the Sun 164

Posted by samzenpus
from the mother-of-all-disaster-movies dept.
BigBadBus writes "The BBC is reporting that NASA's twin spacecraft designed to obtain stereo images of the Sun have recorded a Solar Tsunami. The feature includes a fascinating movie of the images captured."
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Tsunami Spotted on the Surface of the Sun

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  • Re:But... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evanbd (210358) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @09:26PM (#22947444)
    What would it sound like, anyway? It's a pressure wave, aka a sound wave (mostly, there's apparently magnetic effects involved too), but really loud. Really, really loud. But, that sharp rise and fall in pressure has a definable sound to it. I'm sure someone will do a better job than I can, but I think it would sound a lot like a "pop" but with tonality to it -- it's not a sharp-edged delta function, but rather a bandpass-filtered version of one. It looks from the scale, though, like it's a very low frequency wave -- well into the subsonic regime. You wouldn't so much hear it or even feel it as get blown back and forth by it. Well, neglecting that detail about the energy levels involved. Suffice to say that overpowered stereo your neighbor has wouldn't come close...
  • Re:But... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @09:32PM (#22947498)

    You know, when you turn a seismogram into sound and speed it up, it sounds pretty much like rubbing two rocks against each other. That sort of event usually sounding the way you'd expect them to once you speed it up enough, I'd say this solar Tsunami must sound like the type of explosion you'd expect to hear.

  • Re:Special Effects (Score:5, Interesting)

    by orangepeel (114557) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @11:44PM (#22948184)
    I'm the same way. One of the things that gives me pause is when a publication states that something is "hotter than the surface of the sun."

    I always ask myself a question whenever I read or hear that line: what surface? Where the heck do you define the "surface" in the case of a star?

    I assume that somewhere at the sun's core you've got some type of phenomenally wacky material, and from there on out you're just looking at an energized soupy plasma that just gets progressively less and less dense. Even if you get to some point where somebody decides the pressure suddenly becomes worthy of "surface" status, it's still not going to be anything like a surface in the minds of most normal humans. The "surface" is roiling, boiling, and exploding with astronomical energies non-stop. That seems to me like trying to describe an exploding can of aerosol cheese as a cohesive solid, and I dare say we all know from experience how ridiculous that would be.

    To me, referring to the surface of the sun seems akin to invoking the question, "what's the length of the coastline of England?" My answer would be, "on what scale?" But I seem to be the only one who feels that way, so perhaps I'm just in the dark over something. Has someone figured out some cool relationship between the gravitational ability of the sun to hold on to its own matter compared with the average energy of a certain layer of plasma or something? I don't know. I never hear it talked about. All I ever hear is that simple phrase, "the surface of the sun," used in article after article ... like it's so damn obvious and how much of a moron I must be to stumble over it every time.

    Sometimes I suspect that someone, somewhere, with god-like precision simply declared one day, "no, this distance outward from the core represents the surface, and fuck you if you doubt me".

    *shrug*
  • Re:Special Effects (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @12:13AM (#22948330) Homepage Journal
    I'm thinking of, for example, this NASA image of the Sun [nasa.gov] (blasting a jet right through the Earth back in 2003).

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