The Heliosonic Resonator

The Heliosonic Resonator consists of a large suspended disk, fitted with low frequency sonic transducers and covered with approximately 34 square feet of gold leaf. The audio signal is derived from NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft, which (amonst other things) monitors seismic disturbances in the Sun.

These disturbances are created by massive movements constantly taking place in the different layers of the Sun. Within the Sun's atmosphere these movements would be experienced as actual soundwaves, but because of the huge forces involved they would be far below the threshold of human hearing.

Instruments aboard the NASA probe convert the movements of these seismic disturbances on the Sun's surface back into sound for analysis purposes. However, because the frequencies are so low, these sound waves have to be sped up 42,000 times before analysis can take place. This also creates the situation where about a month of seismic vibrations is compressed into a few seconds.

The audio signal used in this installation was created by the SOHO project, a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency.

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