The surface of the Sun vibrates like the instruments of a finely tuned orchestra. And a recent study says that Earth may respond like a planetary eardrum, vibrating at some of the same frequencies as the Sun itself.
The processes at work inside the Sun produce vibrations that work their way up to the surface. Telescopes on the ground and in space have measured thousands of these vibrations, each of which has its own frequency, like a musical note.
The vibrations can't travel through the vacuum of space directly. Even so, last year a team of astronomers reported finding some of these same vibrations in Earth's magnetic field, atmosphere, and even the ground.
The team suggested that the Sun "broadcasts" its symphony of notes through its magnetic field. The field transmits the vibrations to the solar wind -- a steady flow of charged particles from the surface of the Sun. The solar wind carries the vibrations to Earth's magnetic field, which funnels them to the atmosphere and ground. The vibrations can change electrical currents, interfere with radio broadcasts, and have many other effects on our planet and our technology.
We'll have more about the Sun tomorrow.
Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2008
For more skywatching tips, astronomy news, and much more, read StarDate magazine.