Solar Music

I know, this is a strange one.

Basically, these are emissions from the sun at infrared wavelengths. What is so interesting about that you ask? We experience these emissions every day when we step outside on a sunny day. Well yes, but these particular emissions drastically standout from the ordinary "roar" one would detect while "listening" to the sun using a typical photovoltaic (AM) detector. A photovoltaic detector being a detector that demodulates the amplitude variations of the light, much like a crystal radio does for AM radio. Normal sunlight at visible and infrared is detected as broadband noise as one would expect. But amidst this noise are very loud, short duration, "buzz" type of emissions that sound very much like a bee buzzing by your ear. I discovered these emissions on September 5, 1987 when I had a more sophisticated detector attached to my telescope aimed at the moon. Yes, the first time I heard these emissions I actually heard them reflected off of the moon! I have yet to find anyone else that has heard, much less explain these emissions. Take a listen! (If you hear a little constant hum that is simply an artifact of the instrumentation.)

aa5tb_040.mp3 - From Sun (1988)
aa5tb_041.mp3 - From Sun (1988)
aa5tb_042.mp3 - From Sun (1988)
aa5tb_043.mp3 - Reflected off of the moon (1730 UTC September 5, 1987)

My investigations indicate that the emissions are coming from the sun's corona, or at least that is where they are most easily detected. There is a possible down-to-earth explaination although I have all but ruled it out. That is, the emissions could simply be the sun's infrared wavelengths being forward scattered from the fluttering wings of insects that fly between an observer's location and the sun. This will indeed create similar sounds but the fact that I have detected the emissions in freezing temperatures with no less intensity and also with the sun at a relatively high elevation in the sky makes this theory improbable. What do you think? That would sure be a lot of bugs!

Spectrogram of the Signal

If you are interested in detecting these emissions for yourself I have included below a simplified drawing of a proven method for easily detecting them. Basically the sun and the region around the sun (the corona) are reflected into a darkened area by a mirror and the IR detector is placed near the sun's image but not directly on it. The detector is basically looking at the sun's corona. The detector is designed to detect amplitude variations. A typical photovoltaic circuit will work. I have even detected the emissions with a simple solar cell connected to an audio amplifier via a series capacitor. As time permits I will hopefully provide more detail in the construction of a more effective IR detector much like the one that I orignally used.

Schematic of a Simple Apparatus


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Last updated on August 20, 2006.
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