Monday, 2 May 2016

Singing Stars

Do stars make sounds?
The stars might be singing – but, since sound can’t propagate through the vacuum of space, no one can hear them. The sound was at such a high frequency - almost a trillion hertz - that even animals like bats and dolphins (which have a much bigger range than humans) wouldn't have been able to hear it. In fact, the unexpected sound was six million times higher than that anything that can be heard by a mammal.
Nebula RCW49 
Scientists have recorded the sound of three stars similar to our Sun using France's Corot space telescope. A team writing in Science journal says the sounds have enabled them to get information about processes deep within stars for the first time.
NGC 1977
You'll hear a regular repeating pattern. These indicate that the entire star is pulsating. The sound of one star is very slightly different to the other. That's because the sound they make depends on their age, size, and chemical composition. The technique called "stellar seismology", is becoming increasingly popular among astronomers because the sounds give an indication of what is going on in the stars' interior.
Listen to each star HERE "It's like listening to the sound of a musical instrument and then trying to reconstruct the shape of the instrument".
It's not the first time that scientists have associated "singing" with celestial objects. In November, Rosetta mission scientists discovered that the comet that the Philae space probe landed on had its own mysterious signal.
Is there an actual harmony of the spheres? A chance discovery by a team of researchers has provided experimental evidence that stars might generate sound. They announced their discovery March 23, 2015. HERE
Astronomers have used the words star and sound in the same sentence before. Asteroseismology is a study in which tiny oscillations within a star can be used to probe its internal structure. In those sorts of studies, astronomers effectively turn tiny variations in a star’s light into sounds.

Now a group of physicists is talking about something else: actual sound generated by the stars themselves. The scientists – including Dr John Pasley of the Department of Physics at University of York – said in a statement:
The study of fluids in motion – now known as hydrodynamics – goes back to the Egyptians, so it is not often that new discoveries are made. However when examining the interaction of an ultra-intense laser with a plasma target, the team observed something unexpected.

Scientists … realized that in the trillionth of a second after the laser strikes, plasma flowed rapidly from areas of high density to more stagnant regions of low density, in such a way that it created something like a traffic jam. Plasma piled up at the interface between the high and low-density regions, generating a series of pressure pulses: a sound wave.
However, the sound generated was at such a high frequency that it would have left even bats and dolphins struggling! With a frequency of nearly a trillion hertz, the sound generated was not only unexpected but was also at close to the highest frequency possible in such a material – six million times higher than that which can be heard by any mammal!

Pasley, who worked with scientists from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Central Laser Facility in Oxfordshire, said:

One of the few locations in nature where we believe this effect would occur is at the surface of stars. When they are accumulating new material stars could generate sound in a very similar manner to that which we observed in the laboratory – so the stars might be singing – but, since sound cannot propagate through the vacuum of space, no one can hear them.

Asteroseismology ~ scientists convert starlight into sound, for purposes of study.
One use of the technique of asteroseismology is in the search for exoplanets. That’s because tiny variations in a star’s light – the same little oscillations in starlight that are converted to sound during asteroseismology – also sometimes reveal planets passing in front of their stars.
What is Harmony of the Spheres?
Ancient philosophers described the movement of the Sun, Moon and planets as “the music of the spheres” — the geometry of the cosmos conceived as proportional mathematical harmony.

Harmony of the Spheres
The astronomy of the Pythagoreans marked an important advance in ancient scientific thought, for they were the first to consider the earth as a globe revolving with the other planets around a central fire.  They explained the harmonious arrangement of things as that of bodies in a single, all-inclusive sphere of reality, moving according to a numerical scheme.  Because the Pythagoreans thought that the heavenly bodies are separated from one another by intervals corresponding to the harmonic lengths of strings, they held that the movement of the spheres gives rise to a musical sound-the "harmony of the spheres."
Source: Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000
(b. c. 580 BC, Samos, Ionia--d. c. 500, Metapontum, Lucania)

Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the Pythagorean brotherhood that, although religious in nature, formulated principles that influenced the thought of Plato and Aristotle and contributed to the development of mathematics and Western rational philosophy (Pythagoreanism). Pythagoras migrated to southern Italy about 532 BC, apparently to escape Samos' tyrannical rule, and established his ethico-political academy at Croton (now Crotona).

It is difficult to distinguish Pythagoras' teachings from those of his disciples.  None of his writings has survived, and Pythagoreans invariably supported their doctrines by indiscriminately citing their master's authority.  Pythagoras, however, is generally credited with the theory of the functional significance of  numbers in the objective world and in music.  Other discoveries often attributed to him (e.g., the incommensurability of the side and diagonal of a square, and the Pythagorean theorem for right triangles) were probably developed only later by the Pythagorean school.  More probably the bulk of the intellectual tradition originating with Pythagoras himself belongs to mystical wisdom rather than to scientific scholarship.
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica 97
The harmony of the cosmos
The sacred decad, in particular, has a cosmic significance in Pythagoreanism: its mystical name, tetraktys (meaning approximately "fourness"), implies 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10; but it can also be thought of as a "perfect triangle," as in the Figure.

Speculation on number and proportion led to an intuitive feeling of the  harmonia ("fitting together") of the kosmos ("the beautiful order of things"); and the application of the tetraktys to the theory of  music revealed a hidden order in the range of sound.  Pythagoras may have referred, vaguely, to the "music of the heavens," which he alone seemed able to hear; and later Pythagoreans seem to have assumed that the distances of the heavenly bodies from the Earth somehow correspond to musical intervals--a theory that, under the influence of  Platonic conceptions, resulted in the famous idea of the "harmony of the spheres."  Though number to the early Pythagoreans was still a kind of cosmic matter, like the water or air proposed by the Ionians, their stress upon numerical proportions, harmony, and order comprised a decisive step toward a metaphysic in which form is the basic reality.
In reviewing the accounts of music that have characterized musical and intellectual history, it is clear that the Pythagoreans are reborn from age to age. The German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) perpetuated, in effect, the idea of the harmony of the spheres, attempting to relate music to planetary movement. René Descartes (1596-1650), too, saw the basis of music as mathematical. He was a faithful Platonist in his prescription of temperate rhythms and simple melodies so that music would not produce imaginative, exciting, and hence immoral, effects. For another philosopher-mathematician, the German Gottfried von Leibniz (1646-1716), music reflected a universal rhythm and mirrored a reality that was fundamentally mathematical, to be experienced in the mind as a subconscious apprehension of numerical relationships. 
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica 97
Nishmati ~Sound Of Light
Stellar engineering
Stellar engineering is a type of engineering (currently a form of exploratory engineering) concerned with creating or modifying stars through artificial means.

While humanity does not yet possess the technological ability to perform stellar engineering of any kind, stellar manipulation (or husbandry), requiring substantially less technological advancement than would be needed to create a new star, could eventually be performed in order to stabilize or prolong the lifetime of a star, mine it for useful material (known as star lifting) or use it as a direct energy source. Since a civilization advanced enough to be capable of manufacturing a new star would likely have vast material and energy resources at its disposal, it almost certainly wouldn't need to do so.

Star lifting
Star lifting is any of several hypothetical processes by which a sufficiently advanced civilization (specifically, one of Kardashev-II or higher) could remove a substantial portion of a star matter for any number of purposes. The term appears to have been coined by David Criswell.
Stars already lose a small flow of mass via solar wind, coronal mass ejections, and other natural processes. Over the course of a star's life on the main sequence this loss is usually negligible compared to the star's total mass; only at the end of a star's life when it becomes a red giant or a supernova is a large amount of material ejected. The star lifting techniques that have been proposed would operate by increasing this natural plasma flow and manipulating it with magnetic fields.
The star-lifting array around Polaris squeezes this brillant star using intense magnetic fields, causing mass to be ejected from the polar regions. HERE

Stars have deep gravity wells, so the energy required for such operations is large. For example, lifting solar material from the surface of the Sun to infinity requires 2.1 × 1011 J/kg. This energy could be supplied by the star itself, collected by a Dyson sphere; using only 10% of the Sun's total power output would allow 5.9 × 1021 kilograms of matter to be lifted per year (0.0000003% of the Sun's total mass), or 8% of the mass of Earth's moon.

Many science fiction authors have explored the possible applications of stellar engineering, among them Iain M Banks, Larry Niven and Arthur C. Clarke.

  • In the Space Empires series the last available technology for research is called Stellar Manipulation. In addition to the ability to create and destroy stars, this branch also gives a race the ability to create and destroy black holes, wormholes, nebulae, planets, ringworlds and sphereworlds. Just as described above, this technology is so advanced that once the player has the ability to use them, they usually don't need them anymore. This is even more the case with the last two; once one of these megastructures is complete, the race controlling the ringworld or sphereworld has almost unlimited resources, usually leading to defeat of the others.

  • In The Saga of the Seven Suns, by Kevin J. Anderson, humans are able to convert gas giant planets into stars through the use of a "Klikiss Torch". This device creates a wormhole between two points in space, allowing a neutron star to be dropped into the planet and ignite stellar nuclear fusion.
  • In episode 12 of Stargate Universe, Destiny was dropped prematurely out of FTL by an uncharted star that the crew determines to be artificially created and younger than 200 million years old with an Earth-sized planet containing a biosphere exactly like Earth's being the only planet in the system. Spaceship Destiny recharges its power cells by flying through stars ("Light").

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

— W. B. Yeats, The Wind Among the Reeds

love and light,