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Large amounts of plasma (consisting of mostly electrons and protons) ejected from the sun.
Gamma-Ray Bursts
Short bursts of gamma-rays (very high frequency electromagentic radiation) with very energetic explosions. These bursts can last from a few milliseconds to a few about an hour.
Geomagnetic Storms
A disturbance in the Earth's magnetosphere caused by changes in space weather such as solar erutptions.
The region around the sun that is filled with the Sun's gases, solar winds, and magentic fields.
The magnetic field produced by the Sun that is carried through by solar winds.
The uppermost part of the atmosphere. It also forms the inner surface of the magnetosphere and is reponsible for radio communication between distant places on Earth.
Lagrangian Point
Equilibrium points in space where the gravitational pull by a massive body is equal to that of another body.
Forms when a stream of charged particles, such as a solar wind, interacts with the magnetic field of a planet.
The surface of the sun that you see.
Solar Eruptions
These are sudden intense bursts of energy in the sun. They may develop in a few minutes and last for several hours.
Solar Wind
A constant stream pf charged particles, such as electrons and protons, that are continuously ejected from the upper atmosphere of the Sun.
Suprathermal Ions
Ions, charged particles, that have more energy than similar particles of the same type.

Can’t find the word here? Check out our full glossary

Sounds of STEREO

Black blackground. Red graph resembling stock market price, wildly going up and down but not going off the scale.

Play movie: demo2.mpg (19 MB)

Using the UC Berkeley church bells as the basic element of this sonification, we sonify the solar wind density from July 7, 2007. Solar wind density is the number of mostly hydrogen ions, which are protons, in a given volume (cubic centimeter in this case). Time is on the x-axis of this movie, spanning 24 hours. The y-axis is the solar wind density from 0.44 cm-3 to 6.86 cm-3. At low solar wind density, four bells play together. The higher the wind density, the more the four bells will play to the "beat of their own drum" (i.e. own tempi). The data is also sonified such that the lower the solar wind density is, the less dissonance and the higher the solar wind density is, the higher dissonance the sound is. Because 2007 had very few solar storms, the wind was pretty mild and the contrast in the maximum wind and minimum wind is not as large as one might think. To hear the contrast more clearly in the low and high density solar wind, please listen to and watch the following movies.

Black background, red graph. Black background, red graph. Black background, red graph.

        pulse.mpg (4.9MB)         drone.mpg (3.9MB)         both.mpg (6.9MB)

This first movie demonstrates the sonification at the first solar wind density value (~0.5 cm-3), playing that value as a constant solar wind density until it moves to the top density value (~ 6.5 cm-3). With this contrast, it becomes clearer how there are more bell sounds at higher density solar winds.

The second movie demonstrates the second sonification of this data. Again the bells are used but now dissonance in the bells is used. The lower the solar wind density is, the less dissonance and the higher the solar wind density is, the higher dissonance the sound is. High dissonance is often used in music in Western movies to indicate terror, violence and such, on the screen. We have used this sonification since solar storms with increases in solar wind density can cause electrical blackouts in cities, damage satellites and spacecraft, and harm unprotected astronauts.

The last movie demonstrates both sonifications played together during the lowest and highest solar wind values.


Click on the image to watch the sonification of each data point shwon in color:

Above image shows and plays the flux of high energy (1-10MeV) ions in the solar wind as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) travels by the STEREO satellites. The sound on the left and right speakers are coming from the left and right images which are from STEREO A and B sattelites respectively. This event occured on December 6th, 2006 and we are showing 40 hours of the data. The flux is larger when the sound is more complex and when the color on the images is on the red side of the rainbow colors (yellow, orange, red). These sounds come from running a plot of the flux of particles through the IMPACT sonification "Stereo Spectro" software application. To see the original data, see below. To hear the sound without the animation, click here (mp3, 5.1MB).

Full Data

Click to enlarge Four graphs one above the other. Each graph shows different colors diffused at different locations.

Last updated 01/25/2010 © UC Regents