Designer Helen White has created a high-tech wind chime that uses real-time data from a NASA spacecraft to create otherworldly, ambient sounds based on the vibrations of solar wind. The Advanced Composition Explorer, which currently orbits between the Earth and Sun, measures the plasma currents emitted by the sun and transmits them to the solar-wind chime. A series of electromagnets resonate at various frequencies, causing the aluminum tubes of the chime to vibrate. Listen to the sounds after the jump.
While the actual solar wind in space creates no sound, the tones of the chime provide a way of easily understanding the speed of the gusts. Solar scientists have expressed an interest in using the chime to help them spot patterns in the solar wind they might not be able to easily detect otherwise. The solar-wind chime could also be adapted as part of an early warning system for electromagnetic solar storms headed toward Earth — helping scientists prepare for power outages, power surges, and disruptions of satellite communications.