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Scientists Listen to Song of the Sun

Photo of the Sun taken by the SOHO spacecraft.

The sun-gazing SOHO spacecraft captured this dramatic image of a magnificent prominence above the sun's limb.Seen at the lower right, streams of relatively cool, dense plasma were lofted along looping magnetic field lines extending outward about 30 times the diameter of planet Earth. Far above the limb at the upper right, a disconnected ghostly arc surrounds a dark cavity with bright central emission. These features are telltale signs of a coronal mass ejection--a violent expulsion of material from the sun.

Credit: SOHO - EIT Consortium, ESA, NASA

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The sound of the sun. Scientists measure the changing light waves given off by the sun using an instrument called a dopplergraph that is mounted on a spacecraft called the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). The measured light changes are translated into motion (sound) waves by computer models that capture the relationships between light waves and sound waves. Sound of the sun courtesy of SOHO/Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) Consortium. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA. Permission to use the sound of the sun recording is outlined at the SOHO website.

Credit: SOHO/Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) Consortium