Mar 06, 2017 11:58 AM EST
A recent study claims to have solved the mystery of meteors producing sounds while zooming through the sky. The study conducted by researchers from Sandia National University in New Mexico throws a new insight into the world of dazzling shooting stars.
According to Space.com, the faint "hissing" sound comes from a meteor when bright pulses of light heat up certain objects like leaves or hair present on the ground below. These objects, give out thermal energy into the nearby air, leading to the creation of pressure waves that generate various types of sounds. The researchers say that only very bright fireballs, which are capable of shining as intensely as the full moon does in the sky, are the ones who make this kind of sound. The object should weigh at least 1.1 lbs (0.5 kg) or more to make noises loud enough for human ears, the study suggests.
The researchers say that the sounds are being presented in different ways by people, such as popping, sizzling, rustling, and hissing. The sounds are only audible when a meteor is coming in, which explains that the sounds are not generated at the meteor's surface. The team of researchers has come up with a possible explanation called "photoacoustic coupling" for the mystery of the sounds to be resolved.
According to The Daily Republic, the researchers created the "photo caustic coupling" effect by using dark paint, fine hair, leaves, grass and dark clothing. They used these materials inside a plastic dome and used white LED lights for the experimentation. The observation derived from the experiment says that any observant person in a quite environment bestowed by the right materials can hear the "photoacoustically" induced sound, courtesy a magnitude -12 or brighter fireball. The light emitted by the fireball or meteor can be converted into sound by the materials.
This is not the first time in human history that sound has been created by light. Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and his colleagues observed it in 1880. They heard a sound coming from certain materials exposing and blocking them from sunlight simultaneously. The research published in the journal "Scientific Reports" on 1st February throws ample light on the mysterious phenomenon.
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