What's the difference between a dwarf and red giant? Just listen to the starlight.

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!

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

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In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.