The El Sol installation

BiSON – Sounds of the Sun

The Sun rings like a bell. The central frequency of the sound is far below human hearing, just 0.003 Hz. The sounds you hear as part of this work have been increased in speed by 100,000 times bringing the sound up to 300 Hz and into the range of our hearing. Of course, it is impossible to directly hear the sounds through the vacuum of space. Instead, the Birmingham Solar Oscillations Network (BiSON) at the University of Birmingham, UK, captures the data by making very precise measurements of how the oscillations cause tiny changes in the colour of the light emitted from the Sun. Measuring the oscillations allows exciting discoveries to be made about the internal structure of the Sun using a technique known as helioseismology, in the same way a geophysicist studies the Earth using seismic methods.

The first audio file is produced from 20 years of raw solar data, captured from the beginning of 1995 to the end of 2014. Playing at 2.5 kHz produces a 100,000 times speed up with a resulting audio file of just over 1 hour and 22 minutes.

The second audio file is the same as the previous one, but it has been filtered to contain only the solar oscillation band, i.e., 2 mHz — 5 mHz filtered with a 48 dB per octave roll-off band-pass (200 Hz — 500 Hz after speed-up).

The filtered version of the audio was recently used by Swarovski as a soundscape of the Sun for their El Sol installation, a scale model of the Sun made from 2,880 precision cut crystals, at the Design Miami fair in 2015.

Here is a BibTeX entry for citations:

@misc{epapers2090,
  author = {{Hale}, S.~J.}, 
  title = {BiSON - Sounds of the Sun},
  publisher = {Birmingham Solar Oscillations Network},
  year = 2015,
  month = december,
  url = {http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/2090/}
}
The El Sol installation

Ten ways Engineering and Physical Sciences helps deliver Christmas

The El Sol installation

The El Sol installation

Professor Andy Schofield, Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, selected the recent “El Sol” art-science installation as one of the “Ten ways Engineering and Physical Sciences helps deliver Christmas” in his seasonal message.

Jewellery fashion takes a new leap this Christmas; Swarovski recently collaborated with physicists from Birmingham to create a soundscape of the sun for their El Sol installation, a scale model of the sun made from 2,880 precision cut crystals.

Full article is available here.

BiSON Data Quality

Performance of the Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network (BiSON)

BiSON Data Quality

BiSON data quality from 1995 to 2015.

The Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network (BiSON) has been operating with a full complement of six stations since 1992. Over 20 years later, we look back on the network history. The meta-data from the sites have been analysed to assess performance in terms of site insolation, with a brief look at the challenges that have been encountered over the years. We explain how the international community can gain easy access to the ever-growing dataset produced by the network, and finally look to the future of the network and the potential impact of nearly 25 years of technology miniaturisation.

Published in Solar Physics on 2015 December 7.

All BiSON data used in this article are freely available here.

#opendata #openscience #openaccess

The El Sol installation

Swarovski collaborate with University of Birmingham physicists

The El Sol installation

The El Sol installation

Luxury crystal glass designers and manufacturers, Swarovski, have collaborated with researchers from the Birmingham Solar Oscillations Network (BiSON) project in the School of Physics and Astronomy to develop a soundscape inspired by the sun.

For the last decade Swarovski has partnered with Design Miami to create a unique installation. This year Fernando Romero Enterprise (FR-EE), the Mexico City-based global architecture and design practice, created an installation that explores man’s relationship with the sun.

Entitled El Sol, the installation is a vast geodesic structure, designed to scale, one billion times smaller than the sun and is comprised of 2,880 precision-cut Swarovski crystals. It is accompanied by a soundscape developed by the University of Birmingham.

The track, provided by the decades-long BiSON project, is the “sound” of the sun made up of acoustic waves formed from decades of data captured by spectrometers observing the sun since the 1970’s. The sun rings like a bell, with the central frequency of this sound being far below human hearing at 0.003 Hz. The sounds visitors will hear have been increased in speed by 100,000 times, bringing it up to 300 Hz and into the range of human hearing.

BiSON consists of a network of six remote solar observatories monitoring low-degree solar oscillation modes. It is operated by the High Resolution Optical Spectroscopy group of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham. BiSON captures data from the sun by making very precise measurements of how its oscillations cause tiny changes in the colour of the light emitted from the sun. Measuring the oscillations allows discoveries to be made about the internal structure using a technique known as helioseismology.

Full article is available here.