Does this strange dark ball look somehow familiar? If so, that might be because it is our Sun. In the above image, a detailed solar view was captured originally in a very specific color of red light, then rendered in black and white, and then color inverted.
Once complete, the resulting image was added to a starfield, then also color inverted. Visible in the above image of the Sun are long light filaments, dark active regions, prominences peaking around the edge, and a moving carpet of hot gas.
The surface of our Sun has become a particularly busy place over the past two years because it is now nearing Solar Maximum, the time when its surface magnetic field is wound up the most. Besides an active Sun being so picturesque, the plasma expelled can also become picturesque when it impacts the Earth’s magnetosphere and creates auroras.
What would your voice sound like on Venus?
Let’s imagine that you and a friend could converse on the planet Venus — without having to worry about the lack of oxygen, crushing pressure, and beyond boiling temperatures. Your friend would sound so different that you’d actually see her differently.
That’s one of the more intriguing conclusions from a team led by the University of Southampton’s Professor Tim Leighton, who have calculated all the different sounds we might hear if we could listen in on the other worlds of our solar system. That includes the whirlwinds of Mars, the lightning of Venus, and even the sounds of methane and ethane falling like water on Saturn’s moon Titan.
But perhaps the most interesting is how we would sound if we could actually talk on these faraway worlds. Because of differences in atmospheres, pressures, and temperatures on these worlds, the human voice would sound very different, and since we’re adapted to hear voices in Earth’s atmosphere, these changes would actually play havoc on how we comprehend the voices of those around us. Leighton explains how this would work on Venus:
“We are confident of our calculations; we have been rigorous in our use of physics taking into account atmospheres, pressure and fluid dynamics. On Venus, the pitch of your voice would become much deeper. That is because the planet’s dense atmosphere means that the vocal cords vibrate more slowly through this ‘gassy soup’.
“However, the speed of sound in the atmosphere on Venus is much faster than it is on Earth, and this tricks the way our brain interprets the size of a speaker (presumably an evolutionary trait that allowed our ancestors to work out whether an animal call in the night was something that was small enough to eat or so big as to be dangerous). When we hear a voice from Venus, we think the speaker is small, but with a deep bass voice. On Venus, humans sound like bass Smurfs.”
Of course, this is all strictly theoretical, but I suppose we could test this one day in the far future using humanoid robots that could withstand the conditions of Venus, Mars, or Titan, and perhaps even have advanced enough minds to simulate the perception that their speech partner is smaller than they really are. The next step for the team in their study of space acoustics? Professor Leighton says he’s intrigued to find out what music would sound like on other worlds, something we could one day have Mars astronauts put to the test. If nothing else, it’s slightly more cultured than taking golf clubs to the Moon…
The amazing image above of a sunset on exo-planet HD209458b 150 light years away, was reconstructed by Frederic Pont of the University of Exeter using data from a camera onboard the Hubble Space Telescope.
Pont used his knowledge of how the color of light changes based on chemicals it encounters, and computer modeling, to create an actual image of what a sunset on the actual planet would look like.
The large exo planet in question, exoplanet HD209458b, nicknamed Osiris, circles its star rather closely. At certain points, when the planet passes between us and its star, the light from that star passes through Osiris’s atmosphere before reaching us, which allowed Pont to determine the chemical composition of the atmosphere and deduce what colors would appear to the naked human eye.
The light from Osiris’s star is white, like our own sun, but when it passes through the sodium in Osirisi’s atmosphere, red light in it is absorbed, leaving the starlight to appear blue. But as the sun sets, the blue light is scattered in the same way as it is here on Earth (Rayleigh scattering) causing a gradual change to green, and then to a dim dark green. And finally, due to diffraction, the bottom of the image becomes slightly flattened.
Something cool on Tumblr radar? the hell you say?