It passes through the solar system at approximately 1.6 million kilometers per hour, hitting everything in its path. It is the solar wind, a stream of charged particles of electrons, protons, and alpha particles, released from the Sun’s upper atmosphere, called the sun’s corona. A plasma of energy that moves at an amazing speed.
And thanks to the Parker Solar Probe mission we now have a sample of the sound of this energy.
Parker Solar Probe
An instrument on board NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission can “hear” the interaction of the waves and particles that make up the solar wind: through the roar of the wind, we can hear the small squeaks and whispers that hint at the origin of this wind.
In the following video from the Aplied Physics Laboratory (APL) of the Johns Hopkins University you can hear a little bit of the melody offered by this solar wind:
This NASA mission in the vicinity of the Sun can “listen” when waves and particles interact with each other, recording frequency and amplitude information about these plasma waves that scientists can now reproduce as sound waves.
The solar wind forms a “bubble” in the interstellar medium (gaseous hydrogen and helium in intergalactic space). The point at which the force exerted by the solar wind is not significant enough to displace the interstellar medium is known as the heliopause and is considered to be the outermost “edge” of the solar system.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission took off in August 2018 towards the Sun. In November of that same year and in April 2019 it made two approaches to our star, approaching some 24 million kilometres (less than half the distance at which Mercury orbits the Sun).