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Scientists have found a way to transform light from stars into sound — then they use the sound to understand them.

The sounds range from something like the sizzle of bacon to that uncomfortable noise that happens when you mistakenly switch to AM radio.

But the coolest part is what they can tell us about the stars themselves. Listen here; it's oddly soothing:


What the heck?

Yeah, I know. From what I can tell, it's the frequency of flickering starlight detected by the mighty Kepler telescope that is transformed into sound.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Dr. Bill Chaplin, an asteroseismologist (or star scientist, roughly) at Birmingham University, explains it for us normals by way of musical metaphor:

"Essentially stars resonate like a huge musical instrument. Stars make sounds naturally but we can't hear this as it is has to travel through space.

Like a musical instrument, stars are not uniformly solid all the way to their core, so the sound gets trapped inside the outer layers and oscillates around inside.

This makes the star vibrate causing it to expand and contract. We can detect this visually because the star gets brighter and dimmer and so we can reconstruct the sounds produced from these vibrations."



Turns out these vibrations can tell us some stuff about stars, like their size.

Stars come in all sorts of sizes, but let's talk about the "sounds" of three common ones and how they relate.

A dwarf star is a star that's roughly the size of our sun.

(I'll just let that sink in a bit, there, as you digest that in comparison to the other star sizes above.)

Anyway, dwarf stars spin faster than large stars because they are smaller. When light from these stars are turned into sound, the lack of "hiss" means the surface area is very small (thus, very little granulation). But because it spins so fast, the sunspots will make the light more irregular — meaning the tone is inconsistent. Go to 1:10 in the video to see what I mean; you can very easily identify how the low tone changes gradually.


Following this pattern, larger sized sub-giants have less of that irregular sunspot flickering because they spin at a slower rate. So the tone is less all over the place, but they have more of that hiss because they're bigger. You can hear this at 1:28 in the video.


Big, ol' red giants are crazy loud because they have tons of granulation and spin very slowly. This results in the maddening static sound you can hear at 1:45.

The coolest part? These sounds also give us insights into other worlds! (Maybe.)

For the brightest stars, our space buddy Kepler can detect when planets cross over the stars based on how the light is disrupted. And the measurements can be very, very accurate — which can give us some hints toward exploring planets that may support habitable life.

So there you have it: how star music helps us understand our universe. Science is rad!

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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People have clearly missed their free treats.

The COVID-19 pandemic had us waving a sad farewell to many of life’s modern conveniences. And where it certainly hasn’t been the worst loss, not having free samples at grocery stores has undoubtedly been a buzzkill. Sure, one can shop around without the enticing scent of hot, fresh artisan pizza cut into tiny slices or testing out the latest fancy ice cream … but is it as joyful? Not so much.

Trader Joe’s, famous for its prepandemic sampling stations, has recently brought the tradition back to life, and customers are practically dancing through the aisles.


On the big comeback weekend, people flocked to social media to share images and videos of their free treats, including festive Halloween cookies (because who doesn’t love TJ’s holiday themed items?) along with hopeful messages for the future.
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via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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