Friday, April 15, 2016


Giant sunspot AR2529 is making noise, and it sounds like static. On April 14th, amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft heard a gentle crescendo of noise emerge from the loudspeaker of his shortwave radio telescope in New Mexico. "It was a Type III radio burst from the sun," he says. Click to listen (the static surges about 20 seconds into the audio file):

Type III radio bursts are caused by solar flares. Electrons accelerated by magnetic explosions race through the sun's atmosphere, causing a ripple of plasma waves and radio static. Sunspot AR2529 has been crackling with C-class flares, almost non-stop, and these are apparently the source of the static.

"The burst was recorded in stereo using two separate short wave receivers, one tuned at 20.030 MHz and the other at 21.119 MHz. Best listened to with headphones," says Ashcraft.

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