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Solar Wind Chime – Listening to Real-time Spacecraft Data Here on Earth

Our Sun emits a constant stream of charged particles from its upper atmosphere that is known as the ‘solar wind’. This supersonic stream of particles, which creates our Solar System’s ‘heliosphere’, varies in speed and density over time, and designer Helen White has created a novel way of experiencing this solar phenomenon. She has created a ‘solar wind chime‘ using real-time data from an instrument aboard a NASA spacecraft launched 16 years ago:

Solar-wind Chime turns solar wind data into sound. The sound is generated by electromagnets oscillating a series of tuned aluminium tubes at their resonant frequencies. The 12 electromagnets are powered by driver boards controlled by an x-OSC…

…Solar wind speed is measured by the Solar Wind Electron, Proton and Alpha Monitor (SWEPAM) instrument aboard Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft currently observing the Sun. The data is sent back to groundstations and published by NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre in a text file on an FTP site with only a few minutes delay.

…As the sun’s activity ebb’s and rises over the course of hours, days and months the chimes ambiently reflect this.

Link:Solar-wind Chime: Listening to the sun using spacecraft, electromagnets and x-OSC

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