Sun music

It was the perfect news for a summer's day. We had always known about the earthling so much in love as to sing, "If I were a bell I'd go ding dong ding dong ding!" But here was fresh light on the very center of our solar system: "Astronomers have found that the sun is ringing like a bell." The sun, indeed, is a "great musical instrument" with some 80 overtones alrealdy identified if not audible across airless space.

No doubt a venturing rocket could eventually provide cassettes of sun music. After all, the astronauts brought back rock from the moon. But it is almost more fun to imagine what the sun sounds like, with no terrestrial limitations such as Guy Lombardo's "sweetest music thism side of heaven." And, not to be too solemn about it, we have to recall those thinkers over the years who have linked the coming of light with the dispelling of discord. As more and more becomes known of the coherence behind the churnings on the surface of the sun, the 17th century's Sir Thomas Browne, for example, seems to have an ear for more than metaphor:

"For there is a music wherever there is a harmony, order, or proportio n; and thus far we may maintain the music of the spheres."

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.