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!

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Sometimes it can be hard to figure out what the right thing to do is. But other times it's incredibly simple.

When Barbara Mack saw an unhoused man suffering in the Florida heat outside a convenience store, giving him a bottle of water was simply the right thing to do. But unfortunately, not everyone saw it that way.

Mack shared the story of a woman criticizing her for her act of kindness—and the awesome reaction of those who witnessed it all—in a Facebook post that's gone viral.

Mack wrote:

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