It seems as though even something as simple as wind chimes cannot escape the touch of technology. In this case, it’s a good thing because these high tech wind chimes are fantastic. They basically allow you to listen to the solar wind in real time. Since there is no sound in space, it’s the first time this has ever been possible. When you listen to the video below, you’ll see that the noises are much different compared to the sounds ordinary wind chimes make.
This solar wind chime was designed by Helen White. She attached the wind chime to real time data which is then converted into sound. The data comes from a 16-year-old NASA spacecraft that is 1.5 million kilometers away. The solar wind sound, which isn’t a wind or a sound in space, can then be heard from these somewhat normal looking wind chimes.
If you want the geeky explanation, Wired Watershed explains it best by saying:
The sound is generated by electromagnets oscillating a series of tuned aluminum tubes at their resonant frequencies. The 12 electromagnets are powered by driver boards controlled by an x-OSC. The x-OSC allows us to generate PWM outputs for the electromagnets based on OSC commands sent over wi-fi. An application written in Processing running on a computer sends OSC instructions to the solar wind chime, telling it which chimes to oscillate at which frequencies.
There are all kinds of uses for these wind chimes. As if allowing people to hear the solar wind for the first time ever wasn’t enough, they can also assist scientists in detecting solar storms and other weather events. This could allow people to prepare for such occurrences as simple as power outages or as complex as disruptions in satellite communications. Before you close out of this article, you gotta hear what the solar wind sounds like. It’s fascinating! Just listen to a few seconds of the video below.